Rubio backs keeping bulk data collection

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is the first presidential candidate to announce support for legislation that would delay surveillance reform until it receives President Obama's approval.

"The Paris terrorist attacks remind us that no corner of the free world is safe from these savages, and it is our duty to defeat them by any means necessary," the presidential contender, who leads the Washington Examiner's presidential power rankings, said in a statement on Wednesday. "The USA Freedom Act signed into law earlier this year left our intelligence community with fewer tools to protect the American people and needlessly created more vulnerabilities and gaps in information gathering used to prevent terrorist attacks at home and abroad."

Under the USA Freedom Act passed by the Senate in June, the National Security Agency's bulk metadata collection program was set to expire Nov. 29. Legislation proposed by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., would extend the program until January 2017.

"I'm joining Sen. Cotton's effort because it will provide the intelligence community one more essential tool to help law enforcement connect the dots of terrorist communications, uncover threats against the United States and our allies, and help keep terrorists out of the United States," Rubio added.

Rubio and Cotton both voted against the USA Freedom Act, which passed the Senate 67-32. Under its terms, responsibility for data collection would move to private companies, and federal officials would need to obtain customers' information from those companies only when they have a reason to do so. Cotton said this legislation would extend the program "until the president can certify that the new NSA collection system is as effective as the current system."