WASHINGTON — Sen. Mark Udall said Sunday he supports proposed changes for the government’s collection of Americans phone records, putting him at odds with privacy advocates who say that leaving the program in place and making limited changes is not a workable solution.
The Colorado Democrat told CBS’s “Face the Nation” program Sunday that “the president did the right thing” by announcing the administration would study changes to the contentious program first exposed by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Meanwhile, Udall said his new goal is to restore faith and confidence in the country’s tarnished intelligence community.
“That trust has fallen and it’s now time to rebuild it, and the president took a big step forward on Friday,” Udall said.
Udall called it a “milestone” that Obama “announced the end of the bulk collection of Americans phone records,” however that collection of American citizens’ sensitive data will continue.
“The president did the right thing,” Udall said.
President Barack Obama announced during a speech at the Justice Department Friday that he has directed Attorney General Eric Holder to make recommendations within 60 days on how the information should be warehoused and accessed.
However, Obama rejected one of the key recommendations of his advisory panel to require court approval for national security letters to retrieve information from banks as well as cellphone providers.
Meanwhile, phone companies have also rejected the proposal that they warehouse the information until the government decides to access the data.
“The president’s decision not to end bulk collection and retention of all Americans’ data remains highly troubling,” the ACLU said in a statement.
“The president’s own review panel recommended that bulk data collection be ended, and the president should accept that recommendation in its entirety,” the ACLU said.
Udall acknowledged “we’ve got a mission still in front of us and that is to implement all the changes he proposed,” but that Obama “showed he was listening to those of us across the political spectrum.”
“I feel like I’ve been a voice in the wilderness all these years,” Udall said.