McConnells role in surveillance bill bewilders his friends

first_imgSome Republicans on Tuesday seemed eager to put the surveillance debate behind them, and to give McConnell a break. “It was a busy month,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., pointing to a major trade bill and other legislation the Senate handled. “We just ran out of time.”But GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah was less forgiving. Congress knew for years that the Patriot Act would expire, he said in a speech Tuesday, and the Senate should have resolved the matter “long before now.”Some groups still call for a total end to government access of phone records of persons not suspected of wrongdoing. “The public wants a complete end to mass suspicion-less surveillance,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future.___Associated Press writer David Espo contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Natural spring cleaning tips and tricks for your home Comments   Share   Senators say McConnell overestimated his ability to force a deadline-driven extension, and seemed to misjudge the bipartisan support for the House-crafted changes.Most puzzling to some were the veteran lawmaker’s actions that allowed a first-term senator — his GOP colleague from Kentucky, Rand Paul — to use the Senate’s elaborate rules to delay things long enough to cause the entire USA Patriot Act to lapse for a couple of days, starting at midnight Sunday.As Democrats heaped scorn on McConnell, even some allies said they didn’t understand what end game he had in mind.“I don’t know. I just don’t,” said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.“You’ll have to ask him,” said Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss.Following the September 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act to improve detection of potential terrorism. Particularly controversial, once it came to light in 2013, was the National Security Agency’s massive gathering of phone records. The actual conversations were not captured.The House voted overwhelmingly this year to end the bulk collection, and to require the government to obtain court orders to pursue specific phone records from telecommunications companies. The Senate concurred Tuesday, but only after a protracted battle that left McConnell at odds with many Republicans. Obama signed the bill into law Tuesday night. Top Stories WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, generally seen as a master congressional deal-maker, walked into a legislative dead end on domestic surveillance that left some of his friends bewildered.The Kentucky Republican had repeatedly insisted on continuing the government’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone data. That put him at odds with the Obama administration and the Republican-run House, which overwhelmingly endorsed significant limits. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. speaks to the media during a news conference following a Senate policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 2, 2015, as legislation to end the National Security Agency’s collection of Americans’ calling records while preserving other surveillance authorities is expected to clear the Senate late Tuesday. But House leaders have warned their Senate counterparts not to proceed with planned changes to a House version. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facilitylast_img

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