Senators Ron Wyden, Mark Udall, and Martin Heinrich have an interesting Op-ed in The New York Times entitled End the N.S.A. Dragnet, Now. In it they say that they believe the NSA’s collection of telephone call metadata is a clear case of an unconstitutional general warrant of exactly the type that the American Revolution was fought to prevent. They further state that the NSA greatly exaggerates the usefulness of the bulk collection and have been unable or unwilling to provide any evidence of its usefulness despite repeated requests for the evidence by the senators.
They also discuss Senator Feinstein’s reform bill, which they describe as business as usual for the NSA, and go on to contrast their own legislation that would prohibit the government from conducting “backdoor searches” of Americans’ communications such as phone call metadata, emails, text messages, and Internet use.
Sadly, the Senate Intelligence Committee has voted out Feinstein’s bill so we can expect to see little help from the Senate. They will, of course, pretend that they’ve solved the problem while the NSA continues to abuse the rights of American citizens and, indeed, citizens of every other country as well. It’s shameful.