President Barack Obama is crafting legislation that would stop the National Security Agency from collecting records on millions of Americans’ telephone calls. Instead, phone companies would store the records. Law enforcement officials would have to convince a judge that there is a specific reason to search the records. Meanwhile, however, the administration asked a special court that operates in secret for a 90-day extension of the NSA’s authorization to conduct the bulk collection. “The president should end that program now, not 90 days from now,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said on Tuesday. He discussed it with Ed Schultz on MSNBC.
Sanders called the Obama administration’s proposal to eventually shift the record-keeping out of the NSA a step forward. He said we also must make sure that the government isn’t harvesting records on our emails and other Internet activity without a specific reason 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.” Sanders voted against the Patriot Act when it was first enacted in 2001 and when it was reauthorized in 2006 and 2011. “I have long been concerned about out-of-control intelligence agencies,” he said.