Congressional intelligence leader breaks ranks to propose ending bulk NSA surveillance

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The Washington Post reported today that Representative Dutch Ruppersberger, the “ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, is proposing an end to bulk collection of citizens’ phone data by the National Security Agency, to be replaced by a system that includes daily continuous alerting by the phone companies of numbers suspected of terrorist activity.”

His concept would adopt the “reasonable articulable suspicion” standard used today by the NSA before searching numbers. In January, Obama ordered that a surveillance court approve all numbers the NSA searches as meeting that standard. Ruppersberger is planning to make a formal announcement Thursday. He is the first of the four congressional intelligence committee leaders to come out in opposition to bulk collection. Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, have sponsored legislation to retain NSA’s ability to collect the data.