There Are Two Competing NSA Reform Bills in House Committees

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Two committees in the House of Representatives are working on bills to reform the National Security Agency and curb its domestic surveillance programs. The House Judiciary and House Intelligence Committees are both working on bills.

The Judiciary’s bill is, according to The Wall Street Journal, the more far-reaching of the two working bills, which bans bulk data collection by the government. It would instead entail the government requesting data from, for instance, phone companies, and place a limit on how long the agency could retain such data. These go along the lines of reforms proposed by the White House in March.

The House Intelligence Committee’s bill would be less restrictive, barring the collection of specific types of data, including: phone records, internet records, library records, and firearm sales. It would not be an across-the-board prohibition.

Additionally, the Judiciary bill would only approve data collection for counterterrorism purposes, but the Intelligence bill would expand justifiable purposes to include espionage, WMD proliferation, and other national security threats.

The Judiciary’s bill is scheduled to be taken up on Wednesday and the Intelligence bill is schedule for Thursday. Despite their differences, one or the other will likely make it to the floor. Representative Mike Rogers, who chairs the Intelligence Committee, said in an interview with Foreign Policy that he may end up supporting the Judiciary Committee’s as well.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.