“It’s time to have real reform, not a veneer of reform,” said Sen.
Last week, a federal judge said the routine collection of the dialing records is probably unconstitutional, and a panel appointed by President Obama recommended a major change.
“We believe the government shouldn’t hold this data any longer,” Michael Morrell, a former acting director of the
He said the phone records could be held by the phone companies or by another private group. Then, the government would "need a court order every time they wanted to query that data," he said.
Despite the need for reforms, Morrell said the original purpose of the program still makes sense. He said it is crucial the NSA and the
But the government does not need to collect and store all of these dialing records, he said, so long as they are held in private hands.
The USA Patriot Act authorized the government to collect phone records and other data that would be "relevant to an authorized investigation."
To the surprise of many in Congress, the NSA went to a secret court and won the authority to collect all the dialing records of phone calls in the United States because they might prove useful in a future investigation.