US Senate blocks House-passed Bill on NSA surveillance
The United States Senate blocked a House-passed bill that would have ended the bulk of phone records of people in the US by National Security Agency (NSA). According to reports, the senators will meet again on 31st May. A day after that meeting, the bill will expire.
A United States appeals court has already ruled that bulk collection of domestic phone records by the intelligence organization of the United States government is illegal. The spying of NSA was revealed by an ex-NSA contractor, Edward Snowden. After leaking the documents, Snowden fled to Russia.
As per the reports, the agency collected data about the numbers called and times and not the content of conversations. The NSA also spied on European firms, according to the reports. The senate was pushed by the White House to block the bill that was earlier passed by the House of Representatives. The 57-42 Senate vote fell short of the 60-vote threshold. The Senate vote was followed by the rejected extension to the existing programs. The vote 54-45 was again short of the 60-vote threshold.
Mitch McConnell, senior United States Senator from Kentucky, favored retaining the program, but Rand Paul, United States Senate member, blocked any extension. In a statement, Paul, Republican presidential contender, said, “This week, I stood on the floor for roughly 11 hours in defense of the Fourth Amendment and successfully blocked the renewal of the Patriot Act”.
According to Paul, there is no need to give up the rights for a false sense of security. Paul said he has decided to continue with all he can do until the program is put to an end. Earlier, McConnell announced that Senate will start a Memorial Day break and return on May 31, a day before the bill is due to expire.