Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he is open to considering legislation to delay a law to end the bulk data collection by U.S. intelligence officials, in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks in Paris.
McConnell, R-Ky., said he plans to "take a look" at legislation introduced Tuesday by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., which would postpone elements of the USA Freedom Act. The act, passed in June, would halt the dragnet surveillance of electronic communications by Americans on Dec. 1. Cotton's bill would extend the deadline until after Jan. 31, 2017, and "upon certification from the president that the new architecture will have no operational impacts."
Cotton offered the bill in response to the deadly Paris terrorist attacks, which intelligence officials failed to intercept, although it is not clear why.
"Every time we have one of these attacks, I think it's appropriate to take a look at what the laws are on the book and be open to considering changing them if they don't reflect the modern threat," McConnell said Tuesday. "So, we'll be looking at all of that to see how the laws that we have on the books now adequately protect the American people."
The USA Patriot Act passed after a protracted fight in the Senate first instigated by McConnell, who opposed the reform bill. But any effort to undo the reforms are likely to be met with fierce bipartisan resistance.