The push to reform the National Security Agency isn’t getting any easier.
After a reform bill was narrowly blocked on the Senate floor late last year, civil libertarians hoped that an upcoming deadline to reauthorize some of the spy agency’s controversial powers would give them another opportunity to force changes.
But the attacks in Paris last week, where gunmen killed 12 at a satirical newspaper and 4 at a kosher market, is making that job harder, and strengthening the resolve of the NSA’s backers.
“I hope the effect of that is that people realize … the pendulum has swung way too far after [leaker Edward Snowden],” Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters on Thursday.
“Hopefully people realize that the NSA plays a very, very important role in keeping Americans safe, and my guess there will be less of a desire to hamstring them unnecessarily,” he added.
In the next five months, Congress needs to reauthorize a key portion of the Patriot Act which authorizes the NSA to collect virtually all Americans’ phone records without warrants.