Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Thursday said recent revelations about the U.S. National Security Agency validated his dire concerns about the Patriot Act.
“As one of the few members of Congress who consistently voted against the Patriot Act, I expressed concern at the time of passage that it gave the government far too much power to spy on innocent Americans. Unfortunately, what I said turned out to be exactly true,” he said in a video uploaded to YouTube.
“The United States government should not be accumulating phone records on tens of millions of innocent Americans,” Sanders continued. “That is not what freedom is about. That is not what our constitution is about.”
The Patriot Act was first approved by Congress in 2001, about a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The controversial set of laws was reauthorized in 2006 and again 2011.
Section 215 of the Patriot Act allowed the NSA to obtain a secret court order to collect the telephone metadata of millions of Verizon Communications customers. The data included information such as the date, caller number, recipient number, and length of the phone calls. The actual content of the phone calls was not recorded.
Last year, the NSA refused to provide Congress with an estimate of how many Americans had been spied on because doing so would “would itself violate the privacy of U.S. persons.”
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube, below: