Senate Rejects FISA Reforms, Delays Vote On Bush-Era Warrantless Wiretapping Program


"It is never okay, never okay for government officials to use a general warrant to deliberately invade the privacy of a law-abiding American," Wyden said. "It wasn’t okay for constables and customs officials to do it in colonial days, and it’s not okay for the National Security Agency to do it today."

While conceding that the bill could use some oversight improvements, Sen. Dianne Feinsten (D-Calif.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, urged passage of the bill without alteration to avoid prompting both a fight with the House of Representatives, which has already passed a "clean," unamended version of the bill, and also the program's expiration.

Without renewal, she said, "the program comes down. The program is interrupted."

She and other senators who favor an unamended bill cited procedures meant to minimize when Americans' intelligence is collected and used, as well as a secret court that oversees the program, as evidence that it is being used appropriately.

Feinstein did not elaborate on how the program, which authorizes year-long searches, would be interrupted by expiration. But pointing to a long list of interrupted terror plots since 9/11, she added that "There is a view of some that this country no longer needs to fear attack. I don't share that view."

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