Legislation allowing the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone metadata will likely be extended past the Patriot Act’s June 1 expiration date, as “we can’t shut down the entire operation,” Sen. John McCain said Friday.
“The House is going to come in for a few hours, [after the Memorial Day break] and when they come back, it’s a few hours before the expiration on June 1,” the Arizona Republican told CNN’s “New Day” program. “I think one thing we are all in agreement in, we can’t shut down the entire operation, so that leads one to the conclusion that some kind of compromise will be reached, even if it’s a short-term extension.”
At issue is the USA Freedom Act, which allows telephone metadata to be collected only when there is a court order issued on reasonable cause to believe a caller may have been contacting a known terrorist interest. The Patriot Act, which was passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, allows the collection of metadata from all Americans’ phones to be used to determine if terrorism contacts are being made.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a 2016 candidate for the GOP nomination, spoke on the Senate floor for 10.5 hours this week to try to kill the provisions allowed in the Patriot Act, saying that the NSA’s surveillance is an “infringement.”