The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone records is illegal, exceeding the agency’s authority under the Patriot Act. The ruling comes as congress takes up legislation to reauthorize major sections of the act. Without congressional action those provisions will expire June 1. Mitch McConnell and GOP hawks are pushing for a permanent and unrestricted reauthorization, while the House has passed a reauthorization that would severely restrict NSA surveillance.
With fortuitous timing, my column this week for National Review Online looks at the big split on NSA spying among Republican presidential candidates. Generally speaking, Paul, Cruz, Perry, and possibly Huckabee and Santorum oppose the metadata program or at least seek restrictions on it. Bush, Rubio, and Christie support the program. Walker straddles.