Sen. Rand Paul, and his allies in the upper chamber, are claiming victory this week. The fight of the NSA’s phone data collection practices has been ‘won’ after the Senate failed to renew authorization of that portion of the Patriot Act.
Although Paul convinced Republican colleagues to debate the merits of the authorization, time to renew the power expired at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday. This means a defacto win for opponents of the NSA data collection program.
In addition to phone data collection, other portions of the law failed renewal. The FBI will no longer be able to collect business records during investigations or monitor suspects who are using disposable cellphones.
With the Senate bill defeated, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell now takes up the House version of the bill called the USA Freedom Act. He admitted this version is ‘not ideal’ but believes new elements added with amendments can strengthen it.