- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2015

The White House blasted Senate leaders Monday for failing to renew key Patriot Act powers, saying the impasse of “political gamesmanship” is preventing counterterrorism officials from carrying out their jobs to protect America.

“We would like to see the Senate pass this legislation as soon as possible,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “The failure of the United States Senate to act to renew the authorities … has had an impact on the authorities that our national security professionals can use to keep us safe.”

Mr. Earnest said U.S. intelligence officials have developed “critically important building blocks” in ongoing terrorism investigations because of bulk telephone data collection and wiretapping under the Patriot Act, for which key provisions expired over the weekend.

“Why would we add unnecessary risk to the country and the national security because of Congress’s failure to act?” Mr. Earnest asked, saying some senators are fighting the measure “for political advantage.”

He said intelligence agencies are not able currently to collect bulk telephone data, nor obtain new warrants for certain kinds of wiretaps on terrorism suspects or people suspected of links to terrorists.

“The Senate’s failure to act introduces unnecessary risk,” Mr. Earnest said.

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