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Credit Lee as driving force for USA Freedom Act

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  There will be much drama on Capitol Hill this Sunday as the United States Senate convenes to decide the fate of key aspects of the Patriot Act before they expire at 12:01 a.m. on Monday. At the fore is the Patriot Act’s controversial Section 215, which the National Security Agency (NSA) cites as the authorizing statute for its warrantless collection and storage of Americans’ phone and email “metadata.” Demonstrating leadership and considerable legislative skill, Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee has successfully championed the bipartisan USA Freedom Act, which would end the NSA’s blanket “metadata” collection and storage activities, positioning the ...

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US Intelligence In Danger If Senate Doesn’t Act, Obama Warns

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An ex-NSA chief and ACLU adviser can agree on surveillance reform. Why can’t Congress?

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The current debate over surveillance has been divisive and polarizing. But if a constitutional law professor and an American Civil Liberties Union advisory board member can find common ground with a former director of the National Security Agency and Army general, then Congress should be able to arrive at a compromise on surveillance reform as well. As Americans, we share these bedrock principles: that freedom, privacy, and individual liberty are fundamental American values; that a core responsibility of our government is to keep our nation and our people safe; that the collection of intelligence is essential in the modern world to ...

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US Senate rejects compromise bill on surveillance reform

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A procedural vote on the bill, which was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month  and is supported by the White House, failed 57-42. Sixty votes were necessary to proceed with its consideration. The rejection of the compromise legislation was the latest turn in a complex standoff over NSA surveillance powers that has pitted Democrats, House Republican leaders, Senate Republican leaders and a GOP presidential candidate against one another as members of Congress eyed a holiday break this week. If senators do not act before leaving Washington, the legal authority underpinning the NSA’s bulk collection of private telephone ...

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Westmoreland Demands Benghazi Documents from State Department

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  WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Lynn A. Westmoreland, R-Georgia, took to the floor of the House on earlier this week to express his frustration with the lack of compliance by the State Department in regards to the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s investigation. Westmoreland called attention to the State Department’s stalling, as well as their failure to notify the committee of Secretary Clinton’s use of a private server that hindered the production of emails. During his Special Order, Westmoreland gave a timeline of the committee’s work, crediting the slow pace of the committee to the lack of compliance by the State ...

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What’s next after Rand Paul’s mega-filibuster over NSA spying?

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Nobody wants or expects the government to downplay any effort to protect the country from terrorism, cyber warfare and other potential threats, but as Sen. Rand Paul so protractedly pointed out, there is no balance right now between security and privacy By Jon E. Dougherty Not everyone, including members of his own Republican Party, is a fan of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. But one thing you cannot accuse him of being is anti-liberty. Probably more than any other GOP presidential contender – or prospective GOP contender (Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker comes to mind) – Sen. Paul spends a lot of ...

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Justice: NSA may have to wind down bulk collection this week

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  WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is warning lawmakers that the National Security Agency will have to wind down its bulk collection of Americans’ phone records by the end of the week if Congress fails to reauthorize the Patriot Act. The department circulated a memo on Capitol Hill that says as the June 1 expiration deadline nears, the NSA will have to take this step to ensure that it does not engage in any unauthorized collection. Congress is sharply divided over the issue. The House overwhelmingly passed a bill last week to renew the post-Sept. 11 law while ending ...

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