Senator Patrick Leahy Comment On PCLOB Report

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Committee On The Judiciary,
On The Report Of The Privacy And Civil Liberties Oversight Board
January 23, 2014

[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday responded to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’s Report on the Telephone Records Program Conducted Under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act and on the Operations of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.  Leahy is the lead Democratic coauthor of the bipartisan USA FREEDOM Act.]

“The recommendations of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board add to the growing chorus calling for an end to the government’s dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records.  The report reaffirms the conclusion of many that the Section 215 bulk phone records program has not been critical to our national security, is not worth the intrusion on Americans’ privacy, and should be shut down immediately. 

“The report appropriately calls into question the legality and constitutionality of the program, and underscores the need to change the law to rein in the government’s overbroad interpretation of Section 215.  The revelation that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court did not issue an opinion setting forth a full legal and constitutional analysis of the program until last year also demonstrates the need for greater transparency, more public disclosures, and the involvement of a Special Advocate to represent the privacy interests of Americans before the court.  The USA FREEDOM Act, which I have introduced with Congressman Sensenbrenner, includes many of these common sense reforms, and would restore appropriate legal limits on government surveillance powers.”

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