Senate Republicans Want To Extend NSA's Phone Spying On Americans

| by Michael Allen
Sen. Mitch McConnell.Sen. Mitch McConnell.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is running for the Republican nomination for president in 2016, recently said he supported the National Security Agency spying program on Americans under President Obama and would continue it if elected in 2016.

Now, Reuters reports that Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a new bill to extend the NSA's spying of Americans' telephone "metadata," which contains phone numbers and times called.

The metadata part of the NSA spying program was ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon in December 2013, noted CNN, but the Obama administration appealed the ruling in 2014, reported The Associated Press.

McConnell's bill would extend this part of the potentially unlawful spying program, under the USA Patriot Act, until 2020.

Senate Republicans put McConnell's bill on the fast track, bypassing Senate committees, and brought it before the Senate on April 23.

A panel appointed by the Obama White House in 2013 found that the telephone metadata did not produce any helpful information to deter terrorism and should be stopped.

The Washington Post quoted the panel's report as saying, "Our review suggests that the information contributed to terrorist investigations by the use of ... telephony metadata was not essential to preventing attacks and could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional (court) orders."

Sources: Reuters, CNN, Associated Press, The Washington Post, Opposing Views
Image Credit: United States Senate