Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) expressed support yesterday for serious surveillance reform, saying he will introduce legislation that calls for an end to the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass dragnet of phone data.

The bill would also add some type of public advocate to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) who could argue against the positions presented by intelligence agencies.  Leahy’s suggestions mirror reforms in a bill introduced last week by committed reformers like Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO), and Rand Paul (R-KY). But the Wyden-Udall-Paul bill, spearheaded by two longtime NSA critics, wouldn’t necessarily have gone far. However, Leahy—the chairman of the judiciary committee—is clearly in a powerful position from which to move such a bill forward.

In the Senate, it’s going to be a serious Democrat-on-Democrat battle, since the chairman of the Senate’s top intelligence committee, Diane Feinstein (D-CA), has made it clear she will fight such a bill.     

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