White House releases report on NSA surveillance six years later

With debate gearing up over the coming expiration of the Patriot Act surveillance law, the Obama administration on Saturday unveiled a six-year-old report examining the once-secret programme to collect information on Americans’ calls and emails.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) publicly released the redacted report following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the New York Times. The basics of the National Security Agency (NSA) programme already had been declassified, but the lengthy report includes some new details about the secrecy surrounding it.

After the programme was disclosed in 2013 by the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, President Barack Obama and many lawmakers called for legislation to end that collection, but a bill to do so failed last year. Proponents had hoped that the expiration of the Patriot Act provisions would force consideration of such a measure.

A bipartisan group of House members has been working on such legislation, dubbed the USA Freedom Act. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Friday that Obama is pleased efforts are restarting in the House.

“Hopefully, the next place where Democrats and Republicans will turn their attention and try to work together is on this issue of putting in place important reforms to the Patriot Act,” Earnest said.

If no legislation is passed, the Patriot Act provisions will expire. That would affect not only the NSA surveillance but other programmes used by the FBI to investigate domestic crimes, which puts considerable pressure on lawmakers to pass some sort of extension.

Read the Full Article: Source – The Guardian

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