A watered-down NSA reform bill offered by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – VT) will be brought to a vote in the lame duck Senate soon, as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – NV) has moved to end debate on the matter.
The “USA Freedom Act” aims to end the NSA’s ability to conduct certain types of broad searches in which innocent Americans’ data will obviously be collected, such as all records from a service provider or all records from a zip code.
Though initially the stronger advocate for reform among competing bills, Sen. Leahy’s bill was dramatically weakened to be more palatable to the Senate leadership, and at this point it is seen as unclear if it will accomplish any of its stated goals.
There is increasing concern, then, that passing such a weak “reform” may be worse than no reform at all, as it risks giving the administration cover to say that changes have been made, but in vague language that allows many of the worst abuses to continue.
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