patriot act

Cruz Remarks Draw Intel Panel Attention

Burr said the committee was reviewing Cruz's comments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr said his staff was reviewing comments about the Patriot Act's metadata program made by Sen. Ted Cruz during Tuesday's GOP presidential debate.  

Burr said that any time there are specific references to numbers related to intelligence programs it sets off concerns among those who handle classified information, but a review is necessary to determine if there was an open source for the data.  

Did Ted Cruz Disclose Classified Information?

Cruz and Rubio sparred over possibly classified information at the debate Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Did Sen. Ted Cruz disclose classified information on national television?  

Those without access to the intelligence itself probably won't know for sure, but that seemed to be the implication in the reaction from presidential campaign rival and fellow Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., during a portion of Tuesday's CNN debate that focused on their differing views on the scope of National Security Agency surveillance programs. Rubio said that in transitioning to a system without bulk collection of phone metadata that existed under the Patriot Act, the intelligence community lost tools to prevent terrorist attacks. That prompted Cruz, a Texas Republican, to snap back.  

Cruz Strikes Back on Rubio's Patriot Act Attacks

Cruz is hitting back on criticism from his presidential rival Rubio. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Facing accusations from Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida that he's supported weakening surveillance powers, presidential rival and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas hit back against his rival on Thursday.  

The two Republican presidential candidates have been at each other over their differing views on reauthorization of provisions of the Patriot Act. The provisions in question involve the bulk collection of telephone metadata by the National Security Agency. Rubio is in a contingent led by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., that is blasting people who supported ending the bulk collection, claiming the practice is key to fighting terrorist threats.  

More Than a Decade Later, Senators Look Back on 9/11

Burr is 1 of 4 Intelligence Committee members who were on the committee on 9/11 (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Fourteen years ago, the 9/11 terror attacks shattered the illusion that Americans were safe on their own soil.  

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard M. Burr, a member of the House Intelligence Committee at the time, recalls the panel had spent a tremendous amount of time the preceding summer listening to warnings by George Tenet, a top CIA official at the time, and intelligence reports that something was going to happen.  

Rubio: Next President Will Have to Restore Intelligence Powers

Paul and Rubio represented opposite sides in the NSA surveillance debate, although both voted to filibuster the USA Freedom Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Marco Rubio said Tuesday the next president will have to reverse damage done to the national security apparatus by the USA Freedom Act.  

The Florida Republican and presidential candidate was one of the 32 senators to vote against the bill to overhaul the National Security Agency's Patriot Act-era intelligence collection programs, which easily passed. He was in a group of lawmakers, led by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who said the bill could make America less secure . And he was one of just 14 who voted to filibuster the bill earlier Tuesday, along with fellow presidential candidates Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Bernard Sanders, I-Vt.  

Senate Advances Patriot Act Overhaul, but Too Late to Foil Rand Paul (Updated)

Rand Paul arrives at the Capitol determined to block any Patriot Act extension Sunday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:52 p.m. | The Senate voted overwhelmingly to advance the USA Freedom Act Sunday evening, but too late to prevent Sen. Rand Paul from being able to force a short-term expiration of Patriot Act surveillance authorities at midnight. The vote came after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., threw in the towel on advancing any short-term extensions of the Patriot Act authorities under the continuing objections of Paul, the fellow Kentuckian he has endorsed for the presidency. The Senate voted 77-17, far above the 60-vote threshold to advance the bill. Several more steps are required, however, before a vote on final passage, which wouldn't happen until Tuesday at 2 a.m. at the earliest in the face of maximum obstruction from Paul. And it's starting to look like it could take more days beyond that.  

Paul acknowledged the bill "will ultimately pass" as he began an hourlong speech Sunday night.  

USA Freedom Act Supporters Say They Have the Votes (Updated)

Daines predicted the USA Freedom Act will pass as early as Sunday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:49 p.m. | Senate advocates for an overhaul of National Security Agency surveillance programs sound confident they have the votes to advance the USA Freedom Act. It's just a matter of time.  

"I think we'll get it passed on Sunday night," Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., told CNN Saturday, making a bullish prediction on the timing. "Now, by the rules of the Senate, with objections and so forth ... the Patriot Act may very well expire Sunday night, but we've got to start moving forward here. We could have done this a week ago. And this is the nature of Washington, D.C., is always managing by crisis."  

After Rand Paul's Objections, Patriot Act Lurches Toward Expiration (Updated)

Paul blocked a Patriot Act extension when he couldn't get votes on his amendments. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated May 23, 2 a.m. | The Senate failed to advance even a one-day extension of the Patriot Act surveillance authorities early Saturday, with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., leading bipartisan objections to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., in an extraordinary sequence.  

The end result is that the Senate will reconvene for legislative business at 4 p.m. on May 31, staring down a midnight deadline to reauthorize the programs in question, including some far less contentious than the bulk data collection that's gotten most of the attention. "This week, I stood on the floor for roughly 11 hours in defense of the Fourth Amendment and successfully blocked the renewal of the Patriot Act. We should never give up our rights for a false sense of security," Paul said in a statement. "This is only the beginning — the first step of many. I will continue to do all I can until this illegal government spying program is put to an end, once and for all."  

Paul's Anti-NSA Push Is at Odds With McConnell's Agenda (Updated) (Video)

McConnell, right, has introduced a long-term extension of surveillance powers. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 12:34 p.m. | Sen. Rand Paul is calling the debate on an issue that puts him at odds with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell "a defining moment for our country."  

In a series of tweets, the junior Kentucky Republican declared he would do what was in his power to preclude reauthorization of expiring National Security Agency surveillance powers under the Patriot Act.