If the author of the Patriot Act thinks this has gone beyond it, what does that say?
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the Republican author of the Patriot Act, sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that says he is “extremely disturbed” by reports that the National Security Agency collected phone records from Verizon customers and insists it violates the law.
“These reports are deeply concerning and raise questions about whether our constitutional rights are secure,” the Wisconsin Republican said in the letter, sent Thursday.
Sensenbrenner, who chaired the Judiciary Committee, cited testimony from the Department of Justice from 2011, in which an assistant attorney general said they obtain so-called business records fewer than 40 times each year.
“I do not believe the released FISA order is consistent with the requirement of the Patriot Act,” Sensenbrenner wrote. “How could the phone records of so many innocent Americans be relevant to an authorized investigation as required by the Act?”