Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.) voted October 31 against a bill purporting to “reform” the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). In an e-mail to The New American, Udall said he believed the bill did not go far enough, failing to deliver real, substantive reform.
During the Senate Intelligence Committee’s markup of the measure earlier this week, Udall offered amendments to beef up the bill’s privacy protections, but a majority voted down his proposals.
Udall’s amendment would have ended the NSA’s bulk collection of phone record “metadata” and would have replaced the original bill with a bipartisan plan co-authored by Udall that would have thwarted the rapid construction of the surveillance apparatus.
"The NSA's ongoing, invasive surveillance of Americans' private information does not respect our constitutional values and needs fundamental reform — not incidental changes. Unfortunately, the bill passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee does not go far enough to address the NSA's overreaching domestic surveillance programs," Udall said.
"I fought on the committee to replace this bill with real reform, and I will keep working to ensure our national security programs show the respect for the U.S. Constitution that Coloradans tell me they demand. As part of this effort, I will partner with other reform-minded colleagues from both political parties, like Senators Leahy, Wyden, and Paul to continue pushing on the Senate floor for real bipartisan reform that will help keep our nation safe while better protecting our privacy rights.”
Evidence of the bipartisan commitment to reigning in the surveillance is Udall’s joining with Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in introducing a bipartisan, bicameral surveillance reform legislation package.
This legislation is nearly identical to a proposal Udall introduced in September with Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.).
A press release from Udall’s office described the goals of the two surveillance-stifling measures:
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Photo of Sen. Mark Udall: AP Images