Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). US Senate

Mitch McConnell, the GOP Senate majority leader, urged lawmakers Thursday to renew the expiring section of the Patriot Act that the National Security Agency says authorizes the bulk telephone metadata spying program. That’s the same section that the New York-based 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled hours earlier didn’t justify the NSA’s phone spying program.
“They’re not running rogue out there,” McConnell said Thursday on the Senate floor. “The NSA is overseen by the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of our government.”
The Kentucky lawmaker has introduced legislation reauthorizing, until 2020, the section of the Patriot Act that the court had ruled upon. A competing measure, known as the USA Freedom Act, would take the bulk data out of the NSA’s hands and leave it with the telecoms. It would allow agents to query it, without a probable cause warrant, on an as-needed basis to combat terrorism.
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