Clinton breaks silence, supports NSA reform bill

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Hillary Clinton has taken her clearest stand yet on government surveillance by coming out in firm support of legislation to reform America’s spying powers. 


The message was signed with an “H,” indicating that she had written it herself.

{mosads}The USA Freedom Act, which the House is expected to easily pass next week, would end the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk and warrantless collection of millions of Americans’ phone records, and instead force it to search private companies’ records using a “specific selection term” after receiving court approval. The measure would also limit other types of government collection, add new transparency measures and reform the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees government spying.

Clinton’s public position ends a long pattern of dodging questions about how — or whether — the NSA’s practices should be reformed.

“I resist saying it has to be this or that. I want us to come to a better balance,” she said in an interview with Re/Code earlier this year.

“How much is too much? And how much is not enough? That’s the hard part.”

Still, she had shown some sympathy for civil libertarians critical of the NSA’s sweeping surveillance.

While stumping for former Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) last year, she praised him for the “important and challenging task” of taking on federal intelligence powers. 

At the same time, she has also criticized government leaker Edward Snowden, whom some of the NSA’s biggest critics consider to be a hero.

His leaks “gave all kinds of information, not only to big countries but to networks and terrorist groups alike,” she said last year

Clinton’s remarks in support of the USA Freedom Act came on the same day that the White House explicitly endorsed the new version of the legislation for the first time. 

Both statements came on the heels of a sweeping appeals court ruling calling the NSA’s collection of people’s phone records illegal. The decision lent new firepower to supporters of the USA Freedom Act and other NSA critics, though hawks defensive of the NSA are equally digging in their heels in the run up to a critical deadline at the end of the month. 

Tags Hillary Clinton National Security Agency USA Freedom Act
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