Patriot Act author: Feinstein’s bill ‘a joke’

The Hill

Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. doesn’t mince his words.

The Wisconsin Republican says the House and Senate Intelligence committees have become “cheerleaders” for the National Security Agency.

“Instead of putting the brakes on overreaches, they’ve been stepping on the gas,” he said of the committees, which are led by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).
In an interview with The Hill, Sensenbrenner — who has offered legislation to rein in the NSA — called rival legislation “a joke.”

He said Director of National Intelligence James Clapper should be prosecuted for “lying” to Congress on the nation’s surveillance programs.

Sensenbrenner, the original author of the Patriot Act, wants to limit the NSA’s surveillance powers in the wake of leaks by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden.

“There is no limit — apparently, according to the NSA — on what they can collect. And that has got to be stopped,” he said.

The 18-term lawmaker claims Congress fell down on the job of overseeing the NSA.

He said the failure in oversight occurred after Congress reauthorized the Patriot Act in 2006, just as he was stepping down as Judiciary Committee chairman.

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