Landmark bill to limit NSA surveillance dies in Senate

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It’s done. The USA Freedom Act has died in the 113th Congress. I’ve just filed a broader piece on this, but I thought I might offer some thoughts — questions, really — on what happens next.

Does the Obama administration seek to re-up the domestic phone records bulk collection? The Fisa Court’s most recent bulk order lasts through December 11. Chances are Team Obama will want to re-up, as its position this whole year was it will continue the effort until there’s a legislative fix. Still, I’ve put the question to the administration and will note their answer when I get it.

This of course begs the further question of whether the odd coalition in favor of the USA Freedom Act will try to pass a successor bill in the next Congress. Leahy, defiantly, vowed to keep up the fight. Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, just now, pledged, “those who value civil liberties and the U.S. Constitution will not rest until there is true reform that ends this unnecessary overreach.” But if the bill couldn’t pass with the momentum of Edward Snowden’s leaks, then how’s it going to pass when a long, long war against the Islamic State is foremost in Washington’s foreign-policy debate?

(Hey, intelligence community would-be whistleblowers. Have you seen our SecureDrop tool?)

2015 is now sure to feature a knock-down, drag-out fight, led by the FBI and NSA, to keep Section 215 of the Patriot Act from expiring. I’ll just link to this piece so as not to belabor the point. But this is now the top priority of FBI Director James Comey — who recently warned about the “post-Snowden pendulum” swinging too far in favor of privacy — and Adm. Michael Rogers, the new NSA director who has seemed to be hoping over the past six months that he could move on from this debate. As it..

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