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article imageNSA phone record collection to continue after bill fails to pass

By Sami Zaatari     Jul 25, 2013 in Politics
A bill that sought to restrict the NSA's phone record collection program narrowly failed to pass; it was defeated by 217 to 205 in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Justin Amash, and Democratic Rep. John Conyers. The bill sought to curb the power of the NSA's broad phone collection program — the new restrictions would no longer allow the NSA to collect the phone records of millions of Americans, but only the phone records of individuals involved in an investigation on security related issues.
The bill would also make the opinions of the secret FISA courts available for members of congress to view, and would require the FISA court to make a summarised version for the public to view.
Those who voted against the bill argued that it would threaten a national security program.
NSA Director Keith Alexander yesterday spent several hours in private discussions with lawmakers trying to convince them to not support the passage of the bill, a bill described as "not the product of an informed, open or deliberative process" by White House Spokesman Jay Carney.
The NSA's massive phone collection program came to public and congressional knowledge after whistleblower Edward Snowden released the classified programs to the Guardian newspaper. Since then the U.S. government has issued an arrest warrant for Edward Snowden under the Espionage Act. Snowden currently stuck in Russia, has officially filed for asylum in the Russian state, with the process ongoing.
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