Mitch McConnell, GOP Senate majority leader, went to court to renew the expiring session of the Patriot Act that allows the National Security Agency’s telephone metadata spying program.
“They’re not running rogue out there,” McConnell said on Thursday. “The NSA is overseen by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our government.”
The Patriot Act was reintroduced by the Kentucky lawmaker. Under the USA Freedom Act, bulk telecom data will move out of NSA’s hands and will go to telecoms. Under this act, agents will have full rights to make an inquiry needed to fight terrorism.
Under circumstances of Section 215 of the Patriot Act expiring on June 1, dispute prevails.
Privacy groups are supporting the USA Freedom Act. Slamming congress resistance, John Whitehead, who heads the liberal Rutherford said, “Anything we can do to limit the bastards, let’s do it,” over a telephone interview with Ars Technica.
Several companies, trade groups and civil rights groups are backing the Freedom Act. McConnell said it would leave the U.S. exposed to terror but it will not defend privacy.
“Despite the value of the Section 215 program and the rigorous safeguards that govern it, critics of the program either want to do away with it or make it much more difficult to use,” he said.
“Many of them are proposing a bill, the USA Freedom Act, they say will keep us safe while protecting our privacy. It will do neither. It will neither keep us safe, nor protect our privacy. It will make us more vulnerable and it risks compromising our privacy. The USA Freedom Act would replace Section 215 with an untested, untried and more cumbersome system.”
GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) backed McConnell.
“One day—I hope that I’m wrong—but one day there will be an attack that’s successful,” Rubio said. “And the first question out of everyone’s mouth is going to be why didn’t we know about it. And the answer better not be because this Congress failed to authorize a program that might have helped us know about it.”