WASHINGTON, March 25 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today on reports that President Barack Obama intends to seek another 90-day extension of the bulk collection of Americans' phone records before asking Congress to make private phone companies store the records:
“As someone who voted against the Patriot Act and opposed its reauthorization, I have long been concerned about out-of-control intelligence agencies.
“At a time when the American people are outraged by government attacks on our constitutional rights, the president’s proposal is a step forward. We must, however, go further. Ending the bulk collection of phone records of virtually all Americans – 99.999 percent of whom have nothing to do with terrorism – is important. The president should end that program now, not 90 days from now. We also must also make sure that the government isn’t harvesting records on our emails and other Internet activity except in instances where there are specific reasons to suspect wrongdoing.
“Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies must be given the tools they need to protect us, but that can be done in a way that does not sacrifice our constitutional rights. If we allow the government to see all of what we read, what we watch and what we hear, then we cannot be called a free society.”