A coalition of organizations with interests range from privacy, government transparency and immigration to Islam and censorship is urging Congress to permanently shut down a National Security Agency program that spies on Americans’ phone records, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The program was dropped some months ago, and its authorization by Congress is scheduled to expire at the end of this year.
The New York Times reported the NSA “quietly” shut down the program to analyze Americans’ cell phone calls and texts.
The report said the agency “has not used the system in months, and the Trump administration might not ask Congress to renew its legal authority, which is set to expire at the end of the year, according to the aide, Luke Murry, the House minority leader’s national security adviser.”
Launched after the 2001 terrorist attacks, it was revealed to the public by whistleblower Edward J. Snowden.
But the coalition wants confirmation that it will be terminated permanently.
The coalition includes the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Arab American Institute, American Library Association, CAIR, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Free Press Action, Muslim Justice League, Open the Government and Transparency International.
In a letter to Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Doug Collins of the House Committee on the Judiciary, the coalition recounted the program’s history of abuse.
“In 2015, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act in direct response to revelations that the NSA had abused provisions of the law to justify dragnet surveillance programs that siphoned up the information of virtually every American,” the letter said. “The stated goal of the bill was to end bulk and large-scale, indiscriminate collection under the Patriot Act, require transparency to prevent future surveillance abuses premised on dubious legal interpretations, and reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.”