National Security Agency bulk surveillance reform is likely to surface in the Senate early next week.
An aide for Vermont Democrat and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy revealed earlier this week the senator and the White House were “within inches” of a compromise over the USA FREEDOM Act. According to “people familiar with the discussions” cited in a Thursday The Hill report, that compromise could show up by Tuesday. (RELATED: Senate ‘Within Inches’ Of NSA Reform Ahead Of August Recess)
The House version passed earlier this year under the chief sponsorship of Wisconsin Republican representative and PATRIOT Act author Jim Sensenbrenner, but lost a large chuck of its support base of lawmakers, privacy advocates and tech companies when 11th-hour negotiations with the Obama administration resulted in some of the bills strongest reforms being left on the cutting-room floor. (RELATED: House Passes ‘Gutted’ NSA Surveillance Reform Bill)
Leahy sponsored the Senate version, which has already moved through the House Intelligence Committee and was expected to go through Leahy’s Judiciary Committee next. Leahy’s aide reported earlier this week the bill could skip the committee and go straight to the floor.
Following the lambasted House passage, Leahy vowed to replace and preserve the bill’s tougher reforms in the Senate version.
Leahy said Tuesday he was “impressed” with the administration’s attempts to compromise, and stressed that the upcoming bill “will do two things” – create “clear cut guidelines of what [intelligence agencies] can and cannot do” and “let the American people know that their privacy is going to be protected.”