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Jeb Bush calls for restoration of NSA surveillance program

Jeb Bush calls for restoration of NSA surveillance program

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush on Monday called for the U.S. to restore the National Security Agency's (NSA) collection of information on Americans’ phone calls in the wake of last week's deadly terrorist attacks in Paris.

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"I think we need to restore the metadata program, which was part of the Patriot Act," the former Florida governor said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"It expires in the next few months. I think that was a useful tool to keep us safe and also to protect civil liberties," Bush added.

Bush has long been a supporter of the program, which started under his brother's administration and continued under President Obama.

The program, which privacy advocates have blasted, allows the NSA to collect in bulk records about millions of Americans' phone calls — including the numbers involved in the call, the time it occurred and how long it lasted. The content of people's conversations is not recorded.

Obama signed a bill in June to end the controversial program, shifting to a more targeted system set to become active Nov. 29, according to an NSA memo shared with The Hill.

Jeb Bush and other Republicans have called for a stronger response to Islamic militants after they claimed credit for last Friday's attacks, which left 129 dead and hundreds more injured in Paris.

"There is a lot riding on this. So I think we can have the proper balance of protecting privacy rights and making sure that we use all of the tools of intelligence to keep us safe," Bush said Monday.