Udall calls for 'reopening' of Patriot Act
POSTED: Monday, June 10, 2013 - 7:23am
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 10:53am
CNN — 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, along with fellow Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden, has been an outspoken critic of classified programs that allow the collection of Americans' phone records, but previously been limited in his warnings to the public since much of the information about the surveillance was considered top secret.
In the last several years, as certain provisions of the Patriot Act have come up for renewal, Udall and Wyden have addressed letters to colleagues and top government officials calling for greater transparency in how the government interprets portions of the law, which was initially passed in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
They've claimed citizens would be shocked at how broadly the law is being interpreted, and have questioned whether the extent of the monitoring is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks.
"I expect the government to protect my privacy. And it feels like that isn't what's been happening. Again, there's a line, but to me the scale of it, and the fact the law was being secretly interpreted, has long concerned me. I'm glad we're having this debate," Udall said Sunday.
Claims that the monitoring has thwarted terrorist attacks are overblown, Udall said.
"It's unclear to me we've developed any intelligence through the metadata program that's led to the disruption of plots that could have been attained through other means," Udall said, pushing back on assertions by both administration officials and Republican Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers that a specific plot was stopped using the massive collection of phone records.
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By Kevin Liptak