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    Whistleblower: Data Collection Unaffected by Surveillance Law Expiration

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    Former NSA senior executive and whistleblower Thomas Drake says that expiration of the mass surveillance authorities under the USA Patriot Act has no impact on the US security and the National Intelligence Agency’s capabilities as other programs exist in the United States to enable data collection.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Expiration of the mass surveillance authorities under the USA Patriot Act has no impact on the US security and the National Intelligence Agency’s (NSA) capabilities as other programs exist in the United States to enable data collection, former NSA senior executive and whistleblower Thomas Drake told Sputnik.

    “There are plenty of other authorities to provide cover and coverage including FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] Amendments Act and Executive Order 12333,” Drake said on Tuesday.

    The US government used Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act as legal basis to justify its mass surveillance programs, which expired on Monday.

    The White House said that the new legislation, the USA Freedom Act, represents a “reasonable compromise” by strengthening privacy while preserving essential authority for intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

    On Tuesday afternoon, the US Senate voted in favour of the USA Freedom Act, which now is only pending the signature of US President Barack Obama.

    Supporters of the Act allege that the new law will end NSA bulk surveillance.

    Drake argued, however, that legislation language would require telecommunication companies “to retain bulk collection of phone records — instead of government — and requires government to go to FISA Court for approval to request specific phone records.”

    Documents, previously leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, revealed it was the FISA Court that had secretly interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act to justify bulk data collection on virtually every US citizen.

    Related:

    Former NSA Director: Freedom Act Vote is Approval for Bulk Data Collection
    Former NSA Director: NSA Lost Only Access to US Phone Records on Monday
    NSA Ended US Bulk Metadata Collection Sunday Night
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    data collection, National Security Agency (NSA), Thomas Drake, United States
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