Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the PATRIOT Act on the House floor in 2001, has declared that lawmakers’ and the executive branch’s excuses about recent revelations of NSA activity are “a bunch of bunk.”
In an interview on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Wednesday morning, the Republican congressman from Wisconsin reiterated his concerns that the administration and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court have gone far beyond what the PATRIOT Act intended. Specifically, he said that Section 215 of the act “was originally drafted to prevent data mining” on the scale that’s occurred.
Sensenbrenner, the current chairman on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations, suggested that the secret nature of the FISA court has prevented appropriate congressional oversight over the NSA’s activities.
When asked whether he agreed with those in Washington calling leaker Edward Snowden a traitor, Sensenbrenner responded, “No, I don’t agree,” and said that he would not have known the extent of abuse by the FISA court and the NSA without Snowden’s disclosures.
The congressman has earlier said he believes the PATRIOT Act needs to be amended to protect Americans’ privacy.