NSA’s Mass Spying Authority Expires

The law authorizing a controversial national-security surveillance program to collect bulk phone data on Americans expired at 12:01 a.m. Monday after Senate Republicans failed to reach a deal for an extension. In a 77-17 vote, the Senate instead began debating a bill passed by the House to overhaul the NSA program, which includes transferring the storage of the data from the government to the phone companies. The Daily Beast's Shane Harris reports that the NSA still retains legal ways to spy en masse. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he believed the House bill had “some serious flaws,” but approved the vote in an attempt to keep the program alive. Senator Rand Paul led the objection, forcing the temporary expiration of parts of the post-9/11 Patriot Act, which allowed the NSA to collect phone records.