Amash: NSA data collecting must be narrowed

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash on "To The Point." (May 28, 2015)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — It was designed as a way to help the intelligence community keep an eye on people who might want to do harm to the United States and protect citizens, but some say the Patriot Act goes far beyond that — particularly by collecting data on just about everyone’s phone activity.

The Patriot Act has been reauthorized several times since it was developed after Sept. 11, 2001. But there has been a holdup this time around — namely that people are concerned about the amount of information being gathered by the National Security Agency in its name.

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Grand Rapids, is among the people working to change the Patriot Act and stop the bulk data collecting.

“The Patriot Act has been used to collect information on every single person in the United States,” Amash told 24 Hour News 8. “The 2nd Circuit (Court of Appeals) recently said that the government has been misinterpreting the Patriot Act to grant itself authority beyond what the Patriot Act actually authorizes. So what we need to do is to make sure the scope of the collection is narrowed; that if you’re going to have these kind of tools that they are not collecting in bulk on every American; that we’re protecting the rights of all Americans while actually going after the bad guys.”

The Patriot Act is scheduled to expire on Sunday. The U.S. Senate will be in session to see if it can come up with to extend it — at least in the short term.

In the meantime, Amash and others are working to come up with a substitute.

Amash and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will be the guests on Sunday’s “To The Point,” which starts at 10 a.m. on WOOD TV8.

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