Senators line up in push to keep bulk surveillance


Many of the usual suspects are lining up behind legislation that would keep bulk surveillance going for another year, but that probably will not do much to improve its prospects.

Three Republican senators signed up on Wednesday to co-sponsor legislation from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., that would extend the metadata collection program authorized under the Patriot Act: Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Cotton thanked them in a message on Twitter, in addition to Sen. Richard Burr, N.C., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who he said would also serve as co-sponsors.

All of the sponsors except for one, Cornyn, voted unsuccessfully in June to keep the National Security Agency's surveillance program alive, when the USA Freedom Act passed the Senate 67-32. That legislation set the program to expire on Nov. 29, at which time federal agencies will need to ask for the data from private companies only in targeted circumstances.

The "Liberty Through Strength Act," proposed by Cotton on Monday, would extend the bulk surveillance program "until the president can certify that the new NSA collection system is as effective as the current system," or January 2017.

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