In a recent op-ed, the Florida Republican and likely 2016 presidential hopeful called on Congress to permanently reauthorize core provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which expires on June 1 and grants U.S. intelligence much of its surveillance power.
“This year, a new Republican majority in both houses of Congress will have to extend current authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and I urge my colleagues to consider a permanent extension of the counterterrorism tools our intelligence community relies on to keep the American people safe,” he wrote.
Rubio also called for the U.S. government to implore American tech companies to cooperate with authorities to better track terrorist activity and monitor communications.
Polis is among lawmakers who have been critical of the nation’s surveillance programs, and the Democrat from Colorado used Rubio’s op-ed to mock his position.
“If Senator Rubio believes that millions of innocent Americans should be subject to intrusive and unconstitutional government surveillance, surely he would have no objections to the government monitoring his own actions and conversations,” Polis said in a press release.
"Senator Rubio is asking for American technology companies to ‘cooperate with authorities,’ so I believe he will have no objection to authorities being given access to his electronic correspondence and metadata. Maybe after his 2016 strategy documents are accidentally caught up in a government data grab, he’ll rethink the use of mass surveillance,” Polis continued.
Rubio has repeatedly defended NSA spy programs that were revealed to the public by former agency contractor Edward Snowden.
In November, the Senator voted against the USA Freedom Act, which would have reformed NSA spying tactics and barred the government from dragnet collection of Americans’ phone records. He warned that the bill could hamper intelligence agencies and bolster terrorists.