NSA Spying in Congress: Stop the Intelligence Committee and What to Watch For in Upcoming Bills

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The Senate is moving quickly on bills to reform many aspects of the NSA spying. Currently, the Judiciary Committee, which has favored privacy in the past, and the chairs of the Intelligence Committees, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Mike Rogers, will be introducing bills tackling the NSA spying.

The Intelligence Committee Bills Must be Stopped

Many of NSA reform bills going through Congress are encouraging, but the most important priority for those who want to stop the spying is to stop the bill by the Intelligence Committees of the House and Senate. The Chairs of each have confirmed that the (still secret) bill is aimed at continuing collection of everyone American's phone records unabated. The bill will likely provide some window dressing of limited transparency, while shoring up the legal basis for the spying.

Since the leaks in June, the committees' Chairs have defended the program with justifications the press has thoroughly debunked. While we have opinions about what the best way forward is, the only sure way to not go backwards, or seal the status quo into stone, is to stop the bill currently in the works by the Intelligence Committee chairs.

What “Stop the Spying” Looks Like

We have also been encouraged by the various other proposals being introduced. Here are some ways to think about the bills currently introduced or coming down the pike.

The good bills being proposed are omnibus bills—so-called because they change a variety of different laws. They try to stop the mass collection of innocent Americans' calling records (using Section 215 of the Patriot Act), phone calls and emails (using Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)), and try to introduce much needed transparency reforms to the court overseeing the spying, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court).

So far, only S. 1551, the Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act—sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden, Richard Blumenthal, Mark Udall, and Rand Paul—has been released. The bill is a fantastic start. The other, by Senator Patrick Leahy..

Read more: https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2013/10/nsa-spying-congress-stop-intelligence-committee-and-what-watch-upcoming-bills