Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Jim Sensenbrenner have introduced a new bill, called the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet-collection, and Online Monitoring Act (USA FREEDOM Act), designed to dramatically curtail the ability of the NSA to collect information on the average United States citizen.

The bill is broad. Its key elements are the reformation of how Section 215 of the Patriot Act, and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) can be used by the NSA to support their operations. Limiting those authorities could dramatically undercut the NSA’s reach.

The bill’s official summary claims that it will end bulk collection of certain records that is currently based on Section 215’s authority, limiting collection to things that deal directly with terrorism or “clandestine intelligence” that are linked to foreign agents, foreign “power,” or suspected foreign agents, or individuals in contact with a foreign “power.” In short…

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