Senate Dem blocks intelligence authorization over FBI surveillance
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOn The Money: Trade chief defends Trump tariffs before skeptical Congress | Kudlow denies plan to demote Fed chief | Waters asks Facebook to halt cryptocurrency project On The Money: Trade chief defends Trump tariffs before skeptical Congress | Kudlow denies plan to demote Fed chief | Waters asks Facebook to halt cryptocurrency project Critics say Interior's top lawyer came 'close to perjury' during Hill testimony MORE (D-Ore.) placed a hold on an annual intelligence community authorization bill on Monday, amid a fight about FBI surveillance. 

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"The American people want policies that protect their security and their liberty," he said from the Senate floor. "After a tragedy, and you can almost set your clock by it, increasingly proposals are being brought up that really don't much of either."

Wyden's move blocks the Senate from passing the Intelligence Authorization bill by unanimous consent. Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Shanahan exit shocks Washington | Pentagon left rudderless | Lawmakers want answers on Mideast troop deployment | Senate could vote on Saudi arms deal this week | Pompeo says Trump doesn't want war with Iran Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request Senators reach .5B deal on Trump's emergency border request MORE (R-Ky.) would need to file cloture on the legislation to force an initial vote on the Senate floor.

The Oregon Democrat, an outspoken privacy advocate in the Senate, said a provision in the legislation "is essentially a redo of the vote that took place last week."

The Senate narrowly rejected a push last week to grant the FBI new surveillance powers in the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. 

The Senate GOP proposal — offered as an amendment to the Commerce, Justice and Science spending bill — would allow the FBI to use "national security letters" to obtain people's internet browsing history and other information without a warrant during a terrorism or federal intelligence probe. 

Wyden argued that getting access to browser history "is almost like spying on their thoughts."

He noted that under a section of the Patriot Act the federal government can already get access to that information quickly. 

"Under Section 102, there's not going to be any dawdling, there's not going to be any waiting around. The government can move and move immediately to protect the American people," he said.

Wyden said he is also concerned about a provision in the intelligence bill that would "erode the jurisdiction" of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

The board was created to provide oversight and advice on privacy and civil liberties protections included in terrorism-related policy.