[Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) issued the following comment regarding Thursday's announcement by the Director of National Intelligence that the agency will seek approval from a FISA court judge to query phone records collected under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. Leahy is the Democratic coauthor of the USA FREEDOM Act, a bill that would end the bulk collection program and install a public advocate at the FISA court. All five members of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), who recently issued a report which concluded that Section 215 Act has not been critical to national security and should end, will appear before the Judiciary Committee next week.]
"Last month, the President acknowledged that the government's surveillance programs must be reformed. I am glad to see that the administration is moving forward to impose important safeguards on its bulk collection of Americans' phone records. But we must do more than just reform the government's bulk phone records collection program; we should shut it down. That is what the bipartisan, bicameral USA FREEDOM Act would do, and I urge all Americans and members of Congress to support the legislation."