Exactly Who to Blame in Congress for Authorizing Government Spying
Posted 6/6/2013 3:10:00 PM

The National Security Agency and the FBI don't bear all the responsibility for the revelation that Verizon is turning phone records over to the government. That responsibility lies with the members of Congress who voted for the PATRIOT Act, as well as extensions of it and the provisions related to collecting those records. Over 100 people currently serving in the House and Senate voted for the original Act in 2001. Last year, over 300 voted to extend a key provision.

We looked at seven Congressional actions generally and five in particular to assess how the government's power to collect data has evolved. From October 2001 to last December, Congress continually voted to expand or continue the government's power to collect private data, ostensibly to bolster efforts to stop terrorist activity. In addition to the PATRIOT Act, Congress has also renewed provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA — the law that established the court which issued the Verizon order.

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Posted By: Producer Thomas  

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