Patrick Semansky / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The sign outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.

Boehner wants bipartisan NSA legislation

Published: Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2014 - 9:14 am
Last Modified: Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2014 - 9:30 am

House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday called for bipartisan legislation aimed at dealing with the National Security Agency's surveillance programs.

He said that "I’ve long said these programs exist to save American lives – and they have.  And There are some valid privacy concerns, it would be irresponsible to end these programs before we have a credible alternative," he said.

“But yesterday we saw important progress toward that goal with bipartisan legislation introduced by Chairman (Mike) Rogers and Ranking Member (Dutch) Ruppersberger."

Boehner, R-Ohio, called the bill "the start of a bipartisan conversation about how we maintain our capabilities to thwart attacks, while addressing privacy and civil liberties concerns that many Americans have"

The speaker would not get specific other than to say, "I expect that part of this effort will include the end of the government holding on to bulk data.  And ultimately, I’m hopeful that bipartisan cooperation will lead to results that all sides can support – and, most importantly, keep America safe.”

The Obama administration is expected to propose this week that the NSA halt its daily collection of millions of telephone records and end its storage of the information, known as metadata, for as long as five years.

Instead, the White House is expected to propose that the phone companies hold onto the records for 18 months, about what they do now for administrative purposes. The NSA would be able to get records for specific information only with permission from a judge through a court order.

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Read more articles by David Lightman

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