There is growing annoyance among advocates of significant NSA reform that the USA Freedom Act, initially the “good” reform bill competing with one that actually expanded the powers of the NSA to snoop on Americans, has been increasingly watered down to be more palatable to the rest of Congress.
The FISA constitutional advocate is gone, as is the language allowing more disclosure from tech companies about data requests. The bill continues to go under the knife, and the desperate push to get it to the House floor may effectively remove anything that made it worth pushing for in the first place.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – VT), author of the Senate version, is not a big fan of what’s happening in the House, and says he won’t let the same thing happen in the Senate. Whether he can make good on that promise remains to be seen, however.
Meanwhile, even reform as such is coming under growing attack from surveillance enthusiasts like Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D – CA), who today condemned critics of the “data collection program,” saying it is necessary because of terrorism. Though Feinstein claimed to object to the term “surveillance,” to describe the program, she has described the program that way in her own campaign literature in the past.