Congress Has Killed NSA Reform

Illustration for article titled Congress Has Killed NSA Reform

Freedom has died, quite literally.

To be more accurate, the USA FREEDOM Act of 2014, which sought to limit telephone record collection and reform the secret FISA courts, has failed to move forward. The bill failed in the Senate, defeated by an irritatingly close 58 to 42 (the bill needed 60 votes to move forward).

This doesn't mean the end for reform — Senator Leahy, who introduced the bill, has vowed to keep fighting, and Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden has also pledged to keep fighting until "there is true reform that ends this unnecessary overreach". But either way, this is the end of any real hope of reform in 2014. The focus will now shift to next year, when Section 215 of the Patriot Act is set to expire. Section 215 provides the legal pretext for the NSA's domestic record collection, and it's far from certain than a Republican-dominated House of Representatives will renew it. [Guardian]

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DISCUSSION

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, worked hard to defeat the bill, which had the support of the Obama administration and a coalition of technology companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. Mitch was re-elected by Kentucky voters by a significant margin. He will be the new majority leader in the senate, and both the senate and the house will be controlled by Republicans. Only Obama's veto power can contain the destructive force. Imagine how important the next presidential election will be.