Justice: NSA may have to wind down bulk collection this week

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is warning lawmakers that the National Security Agency will have to wind down its bulk collection of Americans' phone records by the end of the week if Congress fails to reauthorize the Patriot Act.

The department circulated a memo on Capitol Hill that says as the June 1 expiration deadline nears, the NSA will have to take this step to ensure that it does not engage in any unauthorized collection.

Congress is sharply divided over the issue. The House overwhelmingly passed a bill last week to renew the post-Sept. 11 law while ending the NSA's bulk collection of millions of Americans' phone records.

Republican leaders in the Senate, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are pressing to renew the program. Democrats and more libertarian Republicans want to end the bulk collection.