Unless the Senate acts by June 1, the USA Patriot Act will expire, ending legal authority for programs such as the bulk collection of telephone metadata.
In recent weeks, the stage was set for a conflict over how to address the controversial post-9/11 legislation that fueled the debate over domestic privacy rights and security concerns. On one hand, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell pushed for an extension of the legislation without amendments, while on the other hand Senator Rand Paul filibustered for 10 hours last week to deny the legislation even one more day of support.
The compromise has been the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would shift recordkeeping authority from the government to private telecommunications groups, end the government’s ability to collect metadata in bulk, and extend controversial provisions that allow for court-approved wiretaps and enhanced surveillance. That bill has already passed the House of Representatives 338-88.
How would you like to see the the Patriot Act changed, if at all? In what ways should the government balance privacy concerns with security interests?
Jeffrey Addicott, Lt. Colonel (U.S. Army, ret.); Professor of Law at St. Mary's School of Law in San Antonio, where he is the director of the Center for Terrorism Law; Addicott's a 20 year JAG officer and was senior legal counsel to the Green Berets
Neema Singh Guliani, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Washington Legislative Office, where she focuses on surveillance, privacy, and national security issues