USA Freedom Act replaces Patriot Act provisions, but leaves broad surveillance measures in place
Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act – which allowed NSA surveillance programs, including the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records – expired on Monday, June 1st. Weeks before, the U.S. House passed a watered-down down measure to replace it called the USA Freedom Act. After much wrangling, the Senate finally approved the so-called reform measure Tuesday and before the day was out President Barack Obama signed the measure into law. FSRN’s Nell Abram talks with a 36-year veteran of the NSA about what changes the new law makes — or doesn’t make — to the state of surveillance in the U.S.
While the USA Freedom Act does make some changes to the NSA’s power to collect and retain telephone metadata, it does nothing to change other orders and laws that permit even broader surveillance measures. Kurt Weibe is a retired National Security Agency whistleblower who worked at the agency for more than 30 years.
Mr. Weibe, let’s start with the USA Freedom Act and Section 215. What are the functional differences between the two and will the domestic surveillance of US citizens telephone activity be curtailed under the new law?