Obama signs bill to resume, overhaul NSA surveillance

   < < Go Back
from FoxNews,

President Obama Tuesday night signed legislation that passed Congress only hours earlier, restarting — but also overhauling — controversial government surveillance programs that went dark over the weekend after lawmakers missed a key deadline.

The White House confirmed in a statement that Obama signed the measure Tuesday night. Obama previously said he would sign the bill as soon as it reached his desk.

“After a needless delay and inexcusable lapse in important national security authorities, my Administration will work expeditiously to ensure our national security professionals again have the full set of vital tools they need to continue protecting the country,” Obama said.

In a 67-32 vote, the Senate approved the so-called USA Freedom Act. The legislation had already won approval in the House.

The vote came after key surveillance programs — most notably, the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records — were suspended Sunday after Congress missed the deadline for re-authorization.

The passage of the USA Freedom Act means several changes are in store, particularly for that NSA program. Obama and a cross-section of Republican and Democratic lawmakers supported the legislation.

he USA Freedom Act would:

– Resume the NSA data collection program, but only for a transition period of six months. After that, the legislation would no longer allow the NSA to sweep up Americans’ records in bulk. Instead, it would leave the records with phone companies and give the government the ability to seek access with a warrant.
– Continue other post-9/11 surveillance provisions that also lapsed Sunday night. These include the FBI’s authority to gather business records in terrorism and espionage investigations and to more easily eavesdrop on suspects who are discarding cellphones to avoid surveillance.
– Create a panel to provide the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court with guidance on privacy and civil liberties matters.
– Increase transparency for the surveillance court’s decisions.

More From FoxNews: