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Mike Lee Promotes Patriot Act Alternative

On Monday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) pushed his alternative to the Patriotic Act, which just expired and its reauthorization has been hindered by the actions of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

According to Lee, his measure would reauthorize provisions of the Patriot Act but end the controversial practice of the collection of bulk telephone data.

“It’s coming along,” he said. “It’s more effective because it protects the American people. It leaves in place these provisions of the Patriot Act. It would reauthorize them, but it would reform them. And most importantly it would end the collection of bulk telephone data by the NSA, meaning the NSA could no longer say, ‘Send us all your phone records. We want calling details on every call made in the United States.’ They’d have to connect a phone number they wanted to search to another telephone number that was in some way involved in acts of terrorism.”

Lee acknowledged there has been no known abuses of the Patriot Act, but he said there was the possibility abuses could occur.

“That’s my point — there hasn’t been abuse of this particular program. We’re not aware of abuse but it’s rife with the potential for abuse,” he said. “And just as you point out that we can’t point to any examples where it has been abused, it’s very difficult to point to specific terrorist acts that have been thwarted by this program because of its existence. It’s the perfect scenario in which we have some up with some kind of compromise — one that can continue to protect the American people go so in a way that also safeguards their privacy.”

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

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