Senators are questioning whether the National Security Agency collected bulk data on more than just Americansâ€™ phone records, such as firearm and book purchases.
A bipartisan group of 26 senators, led by Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) asked Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to detail the scope and limits of the National Security Agencyâ€™s surveillance activities in a letter released Friday.
â€œWe are concerned that by depending on secret interpretations of the PATRIOT Act that differed from an intuitive reading of the statute, this program essentially relied for years on a secret body of law,â€ the senators wrote in the letter.
The NSAâ€™s surveillance program has come under intense scrutiny following a leak revealing the agency harvested the phone metadata of millions of American citizens.
The senators noted that the federal governmentâ€™s authority under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act is broad and rife with potential for abuse. Among the senatorsâ€™ concerns was whether the NSAâ€™s bulk data harvesting program could be used to construct a gun registry or violate other privacy laws.
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