U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.), who serve on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and have been at the forefront of the bipartisan and bicameral effort to rein in NSA overreach and end the bulk collection of Americans' phone records, welcomed the U.S. House of Representatives' step today toward reforming the NSA's domestic surveillance.
"I will continue to fight for additional steps to protect both American security and American liberty, like closing the back-door searches loophole and installing a constitutional advocate at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court," Wyden said. "But this is a meaningful step forward for Americans constitutional rights and I congratulate the House Judiciary Committee for taking it on such a strong bipartisan basis. If you had told me a year ago that this was going to happen today, I would have said you were being incredibly optimistic. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on this historic reform effort.
"We can keep our country safe without the NSA collecting millions of Americans' private phone records. Although the executive branch can and should act immediately to end the NSA's overreach, today's vote in the House Judiciary Committee is an important step in the right direction," Udall said. "The House's compromise legislation omits a number of important reforms included in the comprehensive legislation I introduced with Senators Wyden, Paul and Blumenthal, as well as in the original USA Freedom Act, but it endorses the key reform at the heart of our efforts: Ending the bulk collection of law-abiding Americans' phone records. I look forward to studying the committee-passed legislation, but I will keep leading efforts to protect Americans' privacy rights and ensure that our pursuit of security does not trample our constitutional liberties."
Wyden and Udall have forcefully argued that there is no evidence the dragnet collection of Americans' private phone records has provided any intelligence of value that could not have been gathered through less intrusive means.