House passes bill to end bulk collection of telephone metadata

USA Freedom Act The House passed on May 22 the USA Freedom Act, H.R. 3361, by a decisive vote of 303 to 121. This legislation would end the government’s bulk collection of metadata under FISA, while still preserving important intelligence tools needed to keep our country safe, said a news release issued by the House Intelligence Committee, which had earlier reviewed and approved the legislation.

Under this bill, the government’s metadata program is narrowed to allow the government to search only for specific connections to suspected terrorists. The bill requires pre- and post-judicial review of those searches, and the government would have to demonstrate that there is a reasonable, articulable suspicion that all call metadata is linked to terrorism.

The USA FREEDOM Act includes the necessary oversight from all three branches of government, said the committee’s release.

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Ranking Member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) praised the passage of the bill:

“The overwhelming, bipartisan vote by the House indicates the strong level of support for both preserving this intelligence capability, while enhancing transparency and protections for civil liberties. Security and privacy are not mutually exclusive goals. We look forward to working with our colleagues in the Senate to advance this important legislation.”

The USA Freedom Act now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration.