House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D – MD) revealed today that negotiations are ongoing and that he is “very close” to a deal with chairman Rep. Mike Rogers (R – MI) that would end bulk collection of telephone metadata.
Rogers confirmed negotiations and that the White House was “aware” of the details, though he didn’t provide any specifics. Ruppgersberger suggested the deal would allow the NSA to conduct “individual searches” of records held by the phone companies.
Unclear from the comments is if the deal is going to oblige the phone companies to retain records for a protracted amount of time, though Ruppersberger suggested it might now. The NSA currently keeps the data for many years, but phone companies keep them for only 18 months. If they require the phone companies to just store the records as long, the change is relatively minimal, and will depend on if there are new limits to how many searches the NSA can perform.
NSA officials have expressed opposition to any change in the program, saying that having court oversight of the surveillance and having to actually get the data from somewhere would make it hard for them to get data “in a quick and reasonable time period.”