Co-author calls out Fla. senator on Freedom Act

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, confer before a Senate Judiciary hearing to examine the Administration's immigration enforcement policies, in Washington, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio was “dead wrong” in his slams of the USA Freedom Act and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, one of the act’s co-authors said on Boston Herald Radio.

“Marco Rubio has been attacking Ted Cruz on the USA Freedom Act and for his vote on the USA Freedom Act, he is suggesting this is somehow making America less safe, it’s simply not true,” Utah U.S. Sen. Mike Lee said on the “Herald Drive” show. “Marco is wrong on this, he is just dead wrong.”

The Freedom Act passed in June and replaces the Patriot Act, which expired the day before the new bill was signed into law. Rubio and Cruz clashed sharply over the latter’s support of the law, which halted the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone data and other records.

“The metadata program was a valuable tool that we no longer have at our disposal,” Rubio said during the debate.

Lee disputed Rubio’s claim that the Freedom Act has been a step back for America’s security when compared to its predecessor.

“The Freedom Act has not made us less safe at all,” Lee said, adding that he discussed the law’s impact on the investigation into the shootings in San Bernardino, Calif., with FBI Director James Comey.

“I asked, ‘Did this impact our ability to follow up on San Bernardino or protect ourselves against another San Bernardino attack?’ The answer was, of course, no,” he said. “This is a law that, in many ways, enhances our ability to protect the homeland and does so in a way that is respectful of the privacy interests, the Fourth Amendment interests of the American people.”

Having the government collect so much data from Americans, as it was allowed to do under the Patriot Act, was a major concern, Lee said.

“We don’t need to give that much power to the government, power that could be abused and I think would have been abused,” he said. “This maintains our security interests in a way that is more consistent with our privacy interests and in a way that does not compromise our security at all.”

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