With overwhelming public demand for wholesale reform, administration officials are resigned to the inevitability of Congressional curbs on the surveillance state. But the nature of those changes is being hotly debated, with the House and Senate starkly split on how the reforms will come.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) envisions very limited changes centering on “transparency” problems, but wants to keep the telephone surveillance intact. That’s not going to cut it, most senators realize.
Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D – VT) is promising wholesale changes, saying the system of regulations set up in the 1970s is “no longer working” and needs a redesign.
Leahy is also calling for Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision that the administration says authorizes the telephone surveillance, to be scrapped outright, saying “it is not making America safer and the government has not made its case this is an effective counterterrorism tool.”
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