The National Security Agency is reportedly considering ending the mass surveillance program that gathered data about hundreds of millions of telephone call records each year, including ones by Americans.
NSA is "considering" ending that bulk phone spying program not because of all the outcry, or the disgrace over Edward Snowden's revelations — but after all these years, "because it lacks operational value," as reported in the Wall Street Journal by Dustin Volz.
Senior Senate Intelligence Committee member Senator Ron Wyden [D-OR] released this statement on the NSA telephone records program today:
"I cannot comment on classified matters referenced in media reports. However, it is increasingly clear to me that the NSA's implementation of reforms to the phone records dragnet has been fundamentally flawed. In my view, the administration must permanently end the phone records program and Congress should refuse to reauthorize it later this year.
"The agency's admission last year that it vacuumed up over half a billion telephone records indicates that, despite the intent of Congress, bulk collection of phone records never really ended. I warned in 2011 that the executive branch was using the Patriot Act in ways that would leave Americans shocked and angry, and later revelations demonstrated that was true. Last year, I called for a thorough investigation of the program. Today, the NSA owes the American people an explanation of where things stand. I will not stop pushing Congress and intelligence leaders to be straight with the American people and end unnecessary surveillance that violates our constitutional freedoms without keeping us any safer."
Last year, Wyden and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., asked the NSA Inspector General to investigate the NSA's overcollection of phone records. Wyden has been a leader in the fight against overreaching government surveillance, and for real solutions to keep Americans safe without sacrificing liberties.