By Ramsey Cox
Criticism of national surveillance programs have come under increasing scrutiny after leaks that one program had accessed the phone records of millions of U.S. citizens.
Last week, the House voted on an amendment that would have curtailed National Security Agency's surveillance activity, but the vote failed on a 205-217 vote. Wyden vowed that there would be more votes to limit the programs.
The Patriot Act was passed after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a way to prevent another attack, but some lawmakers have said the surveillance programs have gone too far and are violating the Constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.
“From my vantage point reading those documents that are classified, these violations are more serious than what has been stated by the intelligence community and to me that is very troubling,” said Wyden, who serves on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Wyden said the he believed more classified information could be disclosed to the public on the bulk collection of phone records without jeopardizing national security. He also suggested that the agency could get the same information simply by filing subpoenas.
"Convenience alone does not justify the massive intrusion of privacy on the American people," Wyden said.