House forces vote on amendment that would limit NSA bulk surveillance

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
By Paul Martin

Opposition to bulk surveillance swells with vote that would ‘end authority for blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act’

Spencer Ackerman
Tuesday 23 July 2013

Congressional opposition to the NSA’s bulk surveillance on Americans swelled on Tuesday as the US House prepared to vote on restricting the collection of US phone records and a leading Senate critic blasted a “culture of misinformation” around government surveillance.

Republican congressman Justin Amash prevailed in securing a vote for his amendment to a crucial funding bill for the Department of Defense that “ends authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act.” The vote could take place as early as Wednesday evening.

“The people have spoken through their representatives,” Amash told the Guardian on Tuesday. “This is an opportunity to vote on something that will substantially limit the ability of the NSA to collect their phone records without suspicion.”

It will be the first such vote held by Congress on restricting NSA surveillance after the revelations from ex-contractor Edward Snowden, published in the Guardian and the Washington Post, that detailed a fuller picture of the surveillance authorities than officials had publicly disclosed – something blasted in a fiery Tuesday speech by Senator Ron Wyden, a prominent Democratic critic of the surveillance programs.

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