San­ders Pro­poses Lim­its on Sur­veil­lance

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS BRIEFS - Wash­ing­ton, DC

Sen. Bernie San­ders (I-Vt.) in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion to put strict lim­its on sweep­ing pow­ers used by the National Se­cu­rity Agency and Fed­eral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion to se­cretly track tele­phone calls by mil­lions of in­no­cent Amer­i­cans who are not sus­pected of any wrong­do­ing.

“We must give our in­tel­li­gence and law en­force­ment agen­cies all of the tools that they need to com­bat ter­ror­ism but we must do so in a way that pro­tects our freedom and re­spects the Con­sti­tu­tion’s ban on un­rea­son­able searches,” San­ders said.

The leg­is­la­tion filed late yes­ter­day would put lim­its on records that may be searched. Au­thor­i­ties would be re­quired to es­tab­lish a rea­son­able sus­pi­cion, based on spe­cific in­for­ma­tion, in or­der to se­cure court ap­proval to mon­i­tor busi­ness records re­lated to a spe­cific ter­ror­ism sus­pect.

San­ders’ bill would put an end to open-ended court or­ders that have re­sulted in whole­sale data min­ing by the NSA and FBI. In­stead, the govern­ment would be re­quired to pro­vide rea­son- able sus­pi­cion to jus­tify searches for each record or doc­u­ment that it wants to ex­am­ine.

The mea­sure would elim­i­nate a pre­sump­tion in cur­rent law that any­one “known to” a sus­pect is rel­e­vant to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. It also would in­crease con­gres­sional over­sight by re­quir­ing the at­tor­ney gen­eral to pro­vide re­ports to all mem­bers of Congress, not only mem­bers of the ju­di­ciary and in­tel­li­gence com­mit­tees.

The leg­is­la­tion to amend a pro­vi­sion in the so­called USA Pa­triot Act was prompted by dis­clo-

sures in The Guardian and The Wash­ing­ton Post that a mas­sive sur­veil­lance pro­gram re­lied on an ex­pan­sive in­ter­pre­ta­tion of that law to jus­tify what had been se­cret court or­ders au­tho­riz­ing whole­sale sur­veil­lance of tele­phone and In­ter­net records.

San­ders voted against the law when it was first en­acted in 2001 and when it was reau­tho­rized in 2006 and 2011.

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