By Steve Neavling
The Senate rejected a measure Wednesday that would allow the FBI to search e-mail records and Internet browsing histories of Americans without a warrant.
The USA Today reports the Senate was two votes short of the 60 needed to pass the legislation. The final vote was 58-38.
Last week, the House rejected legislation to ban warrantless surveillance of Americans’ electronic communications.
“In the wake of the tragic massacre in Orlando, it is important our law enforcement have the tools they need to conduct counterterrorism investigations and track ‘lone wolves,’ or (Islamic State)-inspired terrorists who do not have direct connections to foreign terrorist organizations but who seek to harm Americans,” Sen. John McCain said.
But Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said the bill “won’t make our country safer, but it will take away crucial checks and balances that protect our freedom.”
“FBI agents will be able to demand the records of what websites you look at online, who you email and chat with, and your text message logs, with no judicial oversight whatsoever,” Wyden said. “The reality is the FBI already has the power to demand these electronic records with a court order under the Patriot Act. In emergencies, the FBI can even obtain the records right away and go to a judge after the fact. This isn’t about giving law-enforcement new tools, it’s about the FBI not wanting to do paperwork.”