01.01.15

The Wall Street Journal: Debate Over U.S. Government Surveillance Faces a Deadline

Felicia Schwartz of the Wall Street Journal reports on the U.S. government’s debate over surveillance networks

WASHINGTON—A debate over the reach of U.S. surveillance networks heads unresolved into 2015, after calls for drastic spying limits were blunted by the recent surge in global extremism, but a statutory deadline looms at midyear.

Key provisions of the Patriot Act are set to expire in June after attempts to modify the Sept. 11-era national security law were stymied in the Senate in 2014. Now, the incoming Republican-dominated Congress faces a variety of tensions as it works to sort out the future of U.S. surveillance programs.

The legislation was backed by a broad and unusual coalition, including the White House, technology companies, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association. Supporters of restructuring existing programs say there is room for compromise in 2015.

“Those of us who believe we should reform our surveillance authorities and those who prefer the status quo have a shared interest in negotiating a way forward that preserves our ability to protect the nation from attack while protecting privacy and civil liberties interests,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

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By:  Felicia Schwartz
Source: Wall Street Journal