National Security

Patriot Act Author Challenges NSA

James Sensenbrenner wants changes at the NSA and with the law.

Dec. 11, 2013
James Sensenbrenner

In a March Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified that the National Security Agency (NSA) does not – at least “not wittingly” – collect massive amounts of information on Americans. In May, of course, NSA contractor Edward Snowden stole and released a vast trove of information on NSA programs, revealing that the NSA does, in fact, collect records on virtually every phone call made in the U.S. among other sweeping electronic surveillance. That led Clapper to apologize for his “misleading” statement.

Patriot Act author Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) now wants Clapper fired and prosecuted for lying to Congress. He also wants NSA director Keith Alexander fired for overseeing the mass surveillance. Something tells us, however, that neither will happen.

Furthermore, Sensenbrenner introduced the USA FREEDOM Act, which seeks “To rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.” The prospects of Sensenbrenner’s bill are unclear.