“I have never seen a time of greater potential danger than right now, and I have never said that before,” Feinstein said of the Monday expiration of US government surveillance authorities.
For the first time since 2001, the US National Security Agency (NSA) does not have the authority to bulk collect domestic communications data, conduct roving wiretaps, or track “lone wolf” terror threats.
The authority for these programs expired on Monday when the Senate could not agree to extend the US Patriot Act authorities or pass new legislation, the USA Freedom Act, to replace the spying programs.
She commented on the threat of foreign fighters, noting the US Federal Bureau of Investigation “is making arrests virtually every week based on people who want to go to Syria to fight.”
Critics of the NSA, including US Senator Rand Paul, have accused lawmakers of using fear to implement government surveillance programs.
The Senate is scheduled for a final vote on the USA Freedom Act on Tuesday.