Show link to terror or don’t snoop, senator says
Federal spy agencies would have to demonstrate a connection between Americans and terrorism before gathering data on those Americans’ electronic communications, under legislation introduced Tuesday by U.S. Sen Mark Udall, D-Colo.
The bill by Udall and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., would amend the Patriot Act to require intelligence agencies to show the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court a link to terrorism or espionage before collecting Americans’ private phone call data.
“There is growing, bipartisan support for Congress to reopen the Patriot Act and ensure that Americans without any links to terrorism or espionage do not have their private information collected by the government,” Udall said in a statement.
Cosponsors of the measure include Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Mark Begich, D-Alaska; Tom Udall, D-N.M.; and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.
Udall has raised doubts about the effectiveness of collecting data from Americans’ electronic communications and has said that the program, operated under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, yielded no uniquely available intelligence.
Requiring the government to demonstrate a connection to terrorism focuses on the needle and not the haystack in collecting data on Americans’ private communications, Udall’s office said.