Jennifer Steinhauer and Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times reporting on the Senate, in a reversal, had turned towards limiting NSA spying authorities:
In a rare Sunday night session, the Senate set a path toward curtailing a sweeping national surveillance program approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But the program that set off a contentious debate about privacy was set to expire at midnight because of continuing opposition from Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky.
The 77-to-17 vote to debate a House surveillance bill was a remarkable turnabout — grudgingly approved by the majority leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, a fellow Kentucky Republican — just a week after the Senate narrowly turned the bill away at his behest. Mr. McConnell, in a desperate attempt to keep the surveillance program going, encouraged senators to vote for a bill that he still found deficient.
The Senate action pointed toward a compromise that would maintain aspects of the bulk collection of telephone records, transferring custody to phone companies rather than the government. While it would represent a retrenchment on the part of the government, it does not end the argument over the dual imperatives of security and individual liberty brought to light by Edward J. Snowden, the former contractor for the National Security Agency.
It is good to see Senator Rand Paul continuing to fight against the Patriot Act extensions. However, the USA Freedom Act is flawed in itself and needs to be properly debated and addressed. Rushing through such intrusive legislation is a terrible idea and the worst possible way ahead for the country.