Policy: National Security

Patriot Act author: NSA spying on Americans ‘clearly not within the law’

By |
Politics,Beltway Confidential,Homeland Security,National Security,NSA,Ashe Schow,Surveillance

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., told Sean Hannity on Monday that what the Obama administration and the National Security Agency did with the Patriot Act was “clearly not within the law.” Referring to the dragnet collection of American citizens’ phone records and Internet information, Sensenbrenner said that “this is clearly beyond the law as I have outlined it, and it’s unfortunate that the Justice Department and the FISA court [which approves surveillance requests] did not follow the law in Justice’s petition to the court and the court approve it.”

Sensenbrenner said that in order to get the Patriot Act passed, the surveillance section had to be limited to the collection of records from foreigners who are the targets of authorized terrorism investigations. He conceded, however, that changes were needed in the law, as the NSA and FISA court obviously did not limit their collection to foreigners under investigation. “We should be looking at the business records of people who are targets of investigations and who are foreigners,” he said. “But we don’t need to grab everybody’s phone calls.”

Asked if there would be consequences for those responsible who broke the spirit and letter of the law that Sensenbrenner wrote, the congressman said there is “no way that somebody who is hurt by their orders can go to a public court to be able to challenge it.”

View article comments Leave a comment