Former NSA supporters join critics in calling for reform

MSNBC reports: Even as President Obama’s administration seeks to stem the growing global outrage over its eavesdropping, a movement to curb government snooping is gaining ground in Congress.

Six members of Congress who voted against the effort to defund the National Security Agency’s communications data collection program late last July will now be among the co-sponsors of surveillance reform legislation meant to rein in the NSA. The proposal would outlaw the NSA’s bulk data collection program, make the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court more transparent, and place new restrictions on the government’s handling of the data it collects.

According to a Republican House aide, Reps. Duncan Hunter of California, Lee Terry of Nebraska, and Darrell Issa of California, who chairs of the House government oversight committee, will be among those co-sponsoring the legislation. On the Democratic side, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia, and Mike Quigley of Illinois will co-sponsor. All six voted against an amendment in late July sponsored by two Michigan congressmen, Republican Justin Amash and Democrat John Conyers, that would have defunded the NSA’s bulk data collection program. Republicans Todd Rokita of Indiana and Howard Coble of North Carolina, who abstained from the Amash-Conyers vote, will also support the surveillance reform legislation.

The Amash-Conyers amendment was defeated by only 12 votes. [Continue reading…]

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