Tighten reins on NSA

Thanks to the Fourth Amendment, Americans enjoy greater protection than most people from secret searches by government agencies. But those protections were trampled upon by the National Security Agency’s collection of bulk phone and Internet records of millions of Americans.

Now, four senators, including Colorado’s Mark Udall, a Democrat, are trying to do something about NSA’s overbroad searches in the name of combatting terrorism. The other three senators are Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Richard Blummenthal, D-Conn.

They introduced legislation Wednesday that would prohibit the bulk collection of Americans’ records and prevent warrantless searches of Americans’ communications. Additionally, it would establish a constitutional advocate who would be charged with arguing for the constitutional rights of Americans before the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court. Currently, only federal security agencies or law enforcement agents present evidence before the court, and their requests for sweeping warrants to accumulate information from large numbers of U.S. citizens are reportedly rarely denied.

The legislation introduced by the four senators is badly needed to prevent the NSA and other federal agencies from overstepping their authority and violating the Constitution.

While other issues are gathering headlines in Washington, D.C., this is critical to protecting Americans’ rights and must not be forgotten. We hope other members of Congress from both parties quickly join the effort and pass this bill.


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