Senate Intel member: Paul 'simply false' on NSA

Senate Intel member: Paul 'simply false' on NSA
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Members of the Senate will be on the hook if they are unable to renew expiring parts of the Patriot Act by the end of the day on Sunday, according to Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHillicon Valley: Facebook co-founder calls for breaking up company | Facebook pushes back | Experts study 2020 candidates to offset 'deepfake' threat | FCC votes to block China Mobile | Groups, lawmakers accuse Amazon of violating children's privacy Experts are studying mannerisms of 2020 candidates to help offset threat of 'deepfake' videos Bolton held unexpected meeting on Iran with top intel, military advisers at CIA: report MORE (R-Ind.).

“There will be accountability for what our vote is and what we do," Coats — who sits on the chamber’s Intelligence Committee — said on Fox News on Sunday.

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“Going dark — losing a valuable tool that’s part of the effort of gathering intelligence, that helps keep Americans safe — is something that we’re going to be responsible for if we allow this to happen.”

In particular, Coats criticized Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending House Freedom Caucus votes to condemn Amash's impeachment comments Bolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran MORE (R-Ky.) for “making statements that simply do not describe the program” run by the National Security Agency (NSA).

“What he’s said is that the government is literally collecting your emails, your buddy lists, the content of your calls — I think that is not the case at all,” Coats said.

“It is an important tool that has been so badly misrepresented.”

The NSA has controversially used one of the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, known as Section 215, to collect in bulk millions of records about Americans’ phone calls. The “metadata” records do not include people’s actual conversations, but instead list the numbers they dial, when the phone calls occurred and for how long.

However, the NSA has other programs that are able to pick up communications of Americans without a warrant, so long as they are picked up “incidentally” during a search for foreigners’ information.

Paul this weekend pledged to force the Senate to kill the laws, by preventing lawmakers from passing legislation by the time they run out at midnight.

The strategy has already made him a prime target for many hawks, who worry that he is handicapping American defenses while threats are on the upswing around the globe.  

“Something is amiss here, and I think people like Sen. Paul need to understand that we are living in a world of real threats to the American people, and his description of the program is simply false,” Coats said on Sunday.