Sanders 'very, very worried' about NSA, privacy

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersClinton camp oppo research: Sanders has 'no accomplishments' Heck's rejection of Trump imperils Nevada Senate race Goldman CEO: 'I’m supportive of Hillary Clinton' MORE (I-Vt.) said on Sunday that he is concerned for the privacy of everyday Americans as Congress debates possibly renewing the Patriot Act.

“I have been very, very worried by the invasion of privacy not just by the government but by business interests as well,” Sanders told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

The Senate will hold a rare night session on Sunday to reexamine the Patriot Act’s intelligence-gathering provisions before they expire at midnight.

Sanders said on Sunday he would prefer the USA Freedom Act, proposed compromise legislation that would replace the Patriot Act.

“I will be voting for it,” the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate said of the USA Freedom Act. “I voted against the original Patriot Act.”

The USA Freedom Act would end bulk, warrantless collection of individual phone record metadata by the National Security Administration (NSA) originally approved by the Patriot Act.

Critics have argued that the intelligence-gathering measures are an unconstitutional government overreach into citizens’ lives.

Sanders also praised President Obama’s time in office while reflecting on his own White House ambitions.

“I have a lot of respect for President Obama,” he said. “I consider him a friend.”

“I think history will judge the president a lot better than many of his contemporaries,” Sanders added. “He came into office at a terrible, terrible time.”

Sanders formally announced his 2016 campaign on Tuesday in Burlington, Vermont.

The Vermont lawmaker also lashed out at critics of controversial fiction he authored in 1972.

The Vermont Freeman article caused a stir last week when readers rediscovered the violent sexual fantasies it depicts.

“This is a piece of fiction I wrote in 1972,” Sanders said. “That was 43 years ago.”

“It was very poorly written and it was dealing with gender stereotypes,” he added.

“What I am focused on today are the issues impacting the American people.”