Udall calls for 'reopening' of Patriot Act
June 9th, 2013
10:22 AM ET
10 years ago

Udall calls for 'reopening' of Patriot Act

(CNN) – Sen. Mark Udall, who's long called for greater transparency in how the government collects data on Americans, said Sunday the law allowing that monitoring should be reopened for debate after new disclosures about the scope of the intelligence community's snooping.

"It concerns me particularly because Americans didn't know this. That's why I'm calling for a reopening of the Patriot Act, I'm calling for a wholesome debate across the country," Udall, a Colorado Democrat, said on CNN's "State of the Union."

"Maybe Americans think this is OK, but I think the line has been drawn too far towards 'We're going to invade your privacy,' versus 'We're going to respect your privacy,' " he told chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.

Udall, along with fellow Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden, has been an outspoken critic of classified programs that allow the collection of Americans' phone records, but previously been limited in his warnings to the public since much of the information about the surveillance was considered top secret.

In the last several years, as certain provisions of the Patriot Act have come up for renewal, Udall and Wyden have addressed letters to colleagues and top government officials calling for greater transparency in how the government interprets portions of the law, which was initially passed in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

They've claimed citizens would be shocked at how broadly the law is being interpreted, and have questioned whether the extent of the monitoring is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks.

"I expect the government to protect my privacy. And it feels like that isn't what's been happening. Again, there's a line, but to me the scale of it, and the fact the law was being secretly interpreted, has long concerned me. I'm glad we're having this debate," Udall said Sunday.

Claims that the monitoring has thwarted terrorist attacks are overblown, Udall said.

"It's unclear to me we've developed any intelligence through the metadata program that's led to the disruption of plots that could have been attained through other means," Udall said, pushing back on assertions by both administration officials and Republican Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers that a specific plot was stopped using the massive collection of phone records.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Mark Udall • NSA • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Donkey Party

    Security, or privacy? You can't have both, and it's foreigners that were targeted, not run of the mill Americans.

    June 9, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  2. TheObserver

    A weak population will suffer through anything if they think it will bring security.

    America's population is weak. We're less educated (for the first time in US history) than the previous generation of Americans, and it shows. Our Congress (the worst in modern US history, by far) continues to bicker, undermine, and smear eachother on a daily basis, and so we simply follow the example before us. It's not that difficult to understand.

    Our national media continue to entertain and misinform (if you really want to know what happened in Turkey, follow twitter) and feed into our fears, and exacerbate existing dichotomies. Mainstream media have essentially become the mouthpieces for the corporate agenda which runs our country.

    How many issues will we see 55%, or 65%, or 75% majority on where there is no legislation made? How many times will it happen until we stop calling ourselves a functional democracy? Economic equity, gun-reform, drug-legalization, gay-rights, etc. The issues that matter to the people, don't matter to the government.

    Anyone notice the tiny little half paragraph about how college loan interest rates were set to double unless Congress could pass a bi-partisan reform. Well, college loan interest rates will double. Was there any doubt that Congress would fail to pass this (or any) bi-partisan reform? One of the BIGGEST focus points of Obama in his first campaign, helping out "Johnny college student with his loans". So much for that.

    Our government does what it wants to do, when it wants to do it. And, they spend your money doing it. There is no transparency through the entire process. Washington might as well be another planet. They make legislation that benefits them, we follow their rules.

    To all the younger people just getting involved in politics: Don't let the older generation tell you that you are naive and idealistic with your political views, because you are right to think that there was a time when things were better, and you're right to think our current crop of Washington employees are not good at their jobs, because they're not. The older generation will do everything to scare you into thinking you're wrong. You're not wrong, they just want to perpetuate the status quo (meaning all the younger Americans owe the older Americans all their money).

    June 9, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. plain&simple

    Rand Paul needs to look at this man inorder to learn how to actually do your job!!! Suggesting lawsuits is asinine and lazy!

    June 9, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  4. TheObserver

    On a separate but related note.... going back to education.... I'm a teacher in a public school. It's the biggest district in my state, and it's one of the most recognizable in the tri-state area (PA, NJ, NY). I've been there since 2003. In that time, I've seen ONE politician outside of local mayors, etc. Joe Sestak in 2007. Since, then I've heard a lot of politicians TALK about districts like mine. They're good at talking.

    June 9, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Marie MD

    hey, jack horse's behind. this has been going on since probbl after 9/11 and any politiians who is against it should e immediately impeached a a traior to the US
    This grandstanding by an rethug and democrat needs to stop. wha do you numbnuts want? another 9/11 while the preident knowing full well it was going to happen it ws just matter of when is caught reading a chidren's book and not try to prevent by knowing, through phone nd emails, that it was going to happen?
    to those of you who think the President is a communis. try going to Cuba or China and let them know how completely clueless you are like you are showing the rest of the world on this blog. You woulc all be in jail before you finishi turning off your computer or laptop never to be heard from again!

    June 9, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. YUCK

    Equality under THE LAW,that means that every terrorist gang including neo nazism,Asian gangs,and Mexican gangs should all be treated equally under THE LAW..

    June 9, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  7. Ron L

    He right, we have TOUGH choices to be made with very SERIOUS results.

    June 9, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. Joe Dudley

    I am a metadata specialist, and it is possible to create very detailed profiles with metadata. I am getting really tired of the discussion being shaped to seem as if citizens are not losing every shred of our privacy because the NSA is only looking at metadata. And, Donkey Party, you better wake up, because it is not just foreigners that are being targeted. Environmental activists, to name one group, have been labeled terrorists and are being tracked by Blackwater. If they are permitted to use this metadata, which seems likely since government is riddled with ex-Monsanto executives, they will have a lot of information about American citizens. Stop being a tool and open your eyes.

    June 9, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. enuff

    Bush chose to ignore parts of the Geneva Convention too with water boarding. There wasn't much outrage over the Patriot Act then or waterboarding... But let Obama do some of the same, and the right-wingers are freaking out.

    June 9, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. rs

    Now we're talking. The GOP can't have it both ways- they can't be the parents of the USA PATRIOT Act, and the environment it has created, and complain about use, AND defend it at the same time. Udall is right. Time to re-evaluate the USA PATRIOT Act and decide WITHOUT politics if this is a law we want to live with.

    June 9, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. keltic1

    For those who opposed the Patriot Act when Bush was President, here is your chance to fix that mistake.

    June 9, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Donkey Party

    Joe Dudley – "Blackwater", isn't part of the government, nor does it even exist under that name. Sounds like you're stuck in the early 2000's.

    June 9, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |