Rand Paul Will Not Block New Spying Bill

Rand Paul is about to stand down. The steadfast opponent of the Patriot Act told The Daily Beast that he won’t try much longer to hold up Senate passage of a bill that would tweak the controversial surveillance law. “I think we’re about done,” Paul said. Earlier, the Senate voted 83-14 to move forward with a vote on the bill, called the USA Freedom Act. It now seems likely the Senate will pass the measure, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to introduce amendments that some House lawmakers warn could sink the bill. (None of Paul’s proposed amendments will get a vote.) Among the tweaks to the USA Freedom Act that House lawmakers say they oppose is a measure that would prohibit the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees classified intelligence gathering, from publicly disclosing its most important rulings. Proponents of disclosure see it as a transparency measure that would bring more accountability and debate to intelligence operations.

— Shane Harris