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Obama signs bill reforming lapsed surveillance program

Staff writer |
Prsident Barack Obama signed a bill to reform and restart the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone records, a program that expired earlier this week.

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The president said the USA Freedom Act "protects civil liberties and our national security."

The legislation mandates that private telecommunications companies, rather than the National Security Agency, will collect and retain phone records nationwide. Federal authorities will need a court order to review those records and look for points of contact with known or suspected terrorists abroad.

Earlier Tuesday, the Senate voted 67-32 to approve the measure and send it to Obama, after days of intense and heartfelt debate about protecting national security and safeguarding civil liberties

The bill enjoyed strong Democratic support but divided majority Republicans, some of whom wanted to resurrect the once-secret government program exposed by fugitive former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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