Continued from page 2

“The Patriot Act never would have passed in September and October of 2001 had there been any inclination at all that [it] would have authorized bulk collections,” he said in a speech Tuesday at the Georgetown University Law Center.

Even as the legislative fights heat up, the courts are being asked to step in.

On Monday, a conservative public interest lawyer asked a federal district court in Washington to halt the data collection, and a court in Manhattan is scheduled to hear a similar plea from the American Civil Liberties Union on Friday.

Also Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge from the Electronic Privacy Information Center to the NSA records collection. The center argued that the Supreme Court should hear an appeal of one of the secret court’s orders revealing that some Verizon customers’ phone records were collected as part of the snooping.