Senate Democrats said today they’ll move forward with efforts to curb the National Security Agency’s ability to collect telephone records on millions of Americans, after the House of Representatives narrowly defeated a proposal to limit the spy agency’s intelligence gathering.
“It’s clear that the sentiment is growing for oversight,” Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, the chamber’s second-ranking Democrat, said today on ABC’s “This Week,” discussing last week’s House vote.
Durbin said he supports limits on the collection of “meta-data” from telephone calls, and said that the courts deciding on the legality of the collection efforts should be “a real court proceeding.”
The legislative debate shows the politically divisive nature of U.S. intelligence collection programs that were disclosed by fugitive U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden, who has holed up in a Moscow airport since arriving there June 23 in an attempt to gain asylum. The Obama administration opposed the House measure.
Senator Mark Udall, a Colorado Democrat who has introduced a bill requiring the government to provide specific evidence of justification before gaining access to private records, said indiscriminate data collection is a violation of Americans’ privacy.