Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) moved Wednesday to take up legislation that would curtail some of the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone data.
Reid filed notice that he would hold a procedural vote, probably next week, on a bill sponsored by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) to put some limits on which records of domestic phone calls can be collected and stored by the FBI and the National Security Agency.
The move is good news for advocates of new restrictions on law enforcement in the wake of disclosures by NSA contractor Edward Snowden. Reid could have taken up a weaker version of the legislation passed by the House in May.
But it remains to be seen whether there will be enough time in the lame-duck Senate session to handle numerous amendments expected to be offered by other senators.
The Leahy bill would set a stricter definition of the search terms the NSA may use to seek data from telephone companies in its efforts to find terrorists.
It also provides for more transparency in what records are being collected, and calls for a public advocate who would participate in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decisions.