Sen. Udall Calls For Reopening The Patriot Act

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Sen. Mark Udall has been one of the few members of Congress out there who has been trying to draw attention to the NSA's datamining program and the seizure of Americans' phone records. He continued to do so on CNN this Sunday when he told host Candy Crowley that he's calling for the Patriot Act to be reopened:

Sen. Mark Udall, who's long called for greater transparency in how the government collects data on Americans, said Sunday the law allowing that monitoring should be reopened for debate after new disclosures about the scope of the intelligence community's snooping.

"It concerns me particularly because Americans didn't know this. That's why I'm calling for a reopening of the Patriot Act, I'm calling for a wholesome debate across the country," Udall, a Colorado Democrat, said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Maybe Americans think this is OK, but I think the line has been drawn too far towards 'We're going to invade your privacy,' versus 'We're going to respect your privacy,' " he told chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.

Udall also expressed skepticism "that the National Security Agency’s massive phone tracking program was really necessary to help the government thwart possible terrorist attacks.":

"My concern is that this is vast," Udall said of the phone data collection program in an interview on CNN's “State of the Union.” "It hasn't been proven that it works, uniquely. It hasn't been proven to have disrupted plots. Finally it's only another step to take that computer and involve human beings to take another look at it.

Udall said it was unclear if other government efforts could have successfully prevented terrorism without resorting to such a breach of privacy.

"I think the data is unclear," Udall said. "It's unclear to me that we've developed any intelligence through the metadata program that's led to the disruption of plots that we couldn't have developed through other data in other intelligence." [...]

Administration officials say lawmakers were briefed and the leaders of the Intelligence panels have backed the programs. But many in Congress say they were not told about the full extent of the NSA’s surveillance.

"It's the scale of this that really concerns me and the fact that the American public doesn't know about it,” said Udall.

In a separate interview on ABC's This Week Udall said he believed the administration had been forthcoming about the programs since their disclosure by the press

“This is the law, but the way the law is being interpreted has really concerned me,” said Udall. “The law has been interpreted in a secret way. That’s what I’ve been calling for is let’s have full disclosure of how this law is being applied.

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