Oversight Board’s NSA Report the ‘Last Straw,’ Say Lawmakers

Bulk Surveillance to End Sooner, Not Later

by Jason Ditz, January 23, 2014

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s report on the NSA dubbed their telephone metadata program illegal, unconstitutional, and of at most a “minimal” benefit to counterterrorism.

It’s nothing a lot of legal experts haven’t been pointing out for months now, but this time it’s a game-changer, according to several Congressmen, who say this is the “last straw.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – VT) says the report underscores the need for congressional action to end bulk surveillance, and while others say this makes the (already probable) expiration of the Patriot Act provision used to justify the scheme a foregone conclusion, several influential Congressmen say they want to get the matter sorted out this year.

Surveillance enthusiasts are still on board, of course. Rep. Mike Rogers (R – MI) not only defended the metadata scheme but condemned the oversight board for “overstepping its boundaries” in pointing out the illegal nature of the surveillance. Those enthusiasts are getting fewer and farther between, however, and the momentum is definitely swinging decisively against the surveillance state.

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