Congress just approved reforms to the NSA's surveillance program.  They struck three amendments from the bill, calling for an end to the mass collection of cell phone data. Obama signed it to make it official.  Question is, does it go far enough?  Bernie and Rand didn't think so.  

Here's a breakdown of the three rejected amendments: 

  • Amendment 1449, Failed 42-51: Required companies to give the government 180 days notice if they indented to change data retention practices to keep call detail records for less than 18 months.
  • Amendment 1450, Failed 44-54: Delayed the start date of the new reform bill from 6 months to 1 year after it was signed into law.  
  • Amendment 1451, Failed 42-56: Changed the amicus structure of the USA Freedom Act, allowing the FISA court to control the organization of its own proceedings.  According to, "it would have limited the duties and access of the public interest advocate, doing away with the requirement that the Court provide written notice explaining when and why it chose not to appoint amicus advocate."

Overall, senators voted 67-32 to pass the USA Freedom Act.  The bill's lead sponsor, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., stated it will "rein in the dragnet collection of data" by the NSA and others.  He proclaimed it will "increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."  

Yet, the bill still had plenty of critics.  Presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., voted against the measure.  He believes the legislation doesn't go far enough.  Another presidential hopeful, the independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, also voted against it.  

The problem with the bill is that it calls for a grace period of six months to transition the bulk collection program of U.S. phone records back to the phone companies, so they can remain the repositories of metadata they generate...which means the NSA, which officially shut down the program on May 31st, must reinstate it for this transitional period. 

Doesn't make sense to you?  Yeah.  We're with you.  Still, is this better than nothing?  Should Snowden feel vindicated?  Sound off below.  

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.

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