Lee Clarifies Support for Paul’s Filibuster

Unlike his Tea Party ally Sen. Rand Paul, who on Wednesday filibustered (with Lee’s help) the Senate’s extension of the Patriot Act and would like to see the surveillance law expire altogether, Sen. Mike Lee says he supports a derivative of the Patriot Act that would end the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records.

Reports Newsmax:

Lee explained that there is a major difference between the USA Freedom Act and the provision in the Patriot Act that allows for the collection of telephone metadata. The proposed new rule says a court order must be used to get phone records, if it is believed a number was used to contact a person involved in terrorism activities, while the Patriot Act provision allows all metadata to be collected for comparison against contacts with potential terrorists.

“They just can’t go out and get everyone’s number,” Lee said of the planned law. “It has to be connected within two steps to a number involved in some type of bad activity.

He said he is not concerned that this type of collection will take too long, as there is technology that can be implemented within six months that enables the NSA to collect the information in real time.

“We have support from this from Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper,” said Lee. “We have got support from this from the man who runs the NSA. And we’ve got support from the White House. We’ve got support from the ranking Democrat and the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. This is the right thing to do and we need to get it passed.”