With the Patriot Act set to sunset on June 1st, civil liberty groups are increasing the heat on Congress to scrutinize the NSA’s surveillance operation specific to how it collects data on Americans.
The existing program allows the NSA to collect “metadata” on individual phone calls made by Americans, but it does not allow the caching of the actual content of the calls—at least in theory.
A number of key bipartisan leaders, including Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and presidential hopeful Marco Rubio (R-FL), argue that making any changes will harm national security. They say limiting the Patriot Act will hinder the federal government’s ability to monitor and prevent 9/11-style attacks on American soil, The Hill reports.
However, another bipartisan caucus led by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Lee (R-UT) is pushing to end the NSA’s data collection and remand the access back to private wireless companies subject to consumer-user agreements.