News ID: 118581
Published: 1113 GMT May 23, 2015

US Senate blocks bill on NSA surveillance

US Senate blocks bill on NSA surveillance

The Republican-dominated US Senate has blocked a bill passed by the House that could have halted the National Security Agency’s contentious phone surveillance program.

The Senate needed 60 votes in order for it to move ahead with the House bill, however, the vote was 57-42 early on Saturday, Press TV reported.

Now, the government is required to gain court approval if it needs phone records from companies on a case-by-case basis.

This came as a major blow to the White House, which has been pressurizing the Senate to back the House bill.

The supporters of the bill in the House issued a statement on Friday, saying they would reject proposals being floated in the Senate on the same day.

The House bill “is a carefully crafted compromise that has been worked on for nearly two years and was passed overwhelmingly in the House,” the House Judiciary Committee’s chairman, Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) and top Democrat, John Conyers of Michigan as well as two other lawmakers said in the statement.

“The short-term extensions and other proposals being discussed in the Senate don’t have the support to pass in the House of Representatives.”

The Senate also rejected a short-term extension of the USA Patriot Act which will expire on June 1. The vote was 45-54, which again fell short of the 60-vote threshold.

The Patriot Act allows the NSA to collect any telephone and business records relevant to a counterterrorism investigation.

The extent of the NSA’s spying activities was revealed in June 2013, when Edward Snowden, a former contractor, began leaking classified intelligence documents.

The disclosures revealed that the NSA had been collecting the phone records of millions of Americans and foreign nationals as well as political leaders around the world.

   
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Resource: Press TV
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