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Bipartisan Group Of Senators Introduces Bill To Limit Government Spying Against Americans

Earlier today, Jim wrote about the newly-introduced H.R. 2399, legislation that would somewhat restrict, but not end, massive wiretapping of Americans’ electronic communications by the U.S. military through the National Security Agency.

Another piece of legislation with the same goal, though perhaps not the same mechanisms, was introduced yesterday in the U.S. Senate. The bill is S. 1182, “A bill to modify the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to require specific evidence for access to business records and other tangible things, and provide appropriate transition procedures”.

s. 1882The text of the legislation is not yet available from the Government Printing Office, but bill’s author, Senator Mark Udall, said in a floor speech yesterday that it is “designed to narrow Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act, known also as the “business records” provision, to better balance the authorities we give the federal government while protecting our constitutional rights. More specifically, my legislation would prevent the federal government from collecting millions of law-abiding Americans’ phone call records without first establishing some nexus to terrorism. We all expect the NSA to target terrorists, but the revelations in the past few weeks have made clear that the information of millions of law-abiding Americans is being swept up in the process… While this legislation would still allow law enforcement and intelligence agencies to use the PATRIOT Act to obtain a wide range of records in the course of terrorism and espionage-related investigations, it would require them to demonstrate that the records are in some way connected to terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities – which is not the case today.”

As you can see, the bill’s cosponsorship is bipartisan, though most of the cosponsors are Democrats.

The Democrats Who Support S. 1182:

Mark Begich
Jeff Merkley
Mark Udall
Tom Udall
Ron Wyden

The Republicans Who Support S. 1182:

Mike Lee
Lisa Murkowski

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