Midstate congressman proposes more disclosure of NSA spying

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 22, 2015 5:13 AM

(Washington, D.C.) -- The activist and former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden exposed just how widespread surveillance of ordinary Americans can be, and a midstate congressman wants to bring more transparency to the NSA.

Republican Scott Perry is asking the Agency to disclose when it started collecting phone and email records of Americans.

His proposal would also require an obscure setup, known as the FISA court, to disclose when it determines the U.S. government has broken the Constitution.

Perry, who represents Adams County and portions of York, Dauphin and Cumberland counties, says he doesn't trust those involved in the surveillance.

"They say take our word for it. And how do we know? How will we ever know if they never give us the information? Maybe it has kept us safer, or maybe they've just collected data on everybody and we don't really know if it's really done anything at all to keep us safer," he says.

However, Perry admits there's no guarantee the current president, or future leaders, will comply with his bill, if it becomes law.

He adds: "That of course is vexing to every member of Congress and it should be to every citizen. That the executive branch ignores the will of members of Congress or Congress in general and thus by transposition the American people is concerning in and of itself."

This is the second time Perry is trying to get the bill through Congress, but he says he's hopeful it might get incorporated into a bigger piece of legislation.

Perry, one of the more conservative members of Congress, says he sees room for compromise with some Democrats on the issue.

He's one of only three Pennsylvania congressional members who voted against a bill that extends the Patriot Act, allowing for continued surveillance, except for bulk collection of phone data.

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