The United States’ National Security Agency has started to wind down a controversial surveillance programme that allowed bulk collection of phone data to track terrorists in the U.S.
The move came after the senate failed to reach a deal to either reform the program or extend its life beyond its expiry date, May 31. Although lawmakers will now meet after a weeklong recess on a rare Sunday session to take a final call on the fate of the programme but administration officials confirmed that they had to start the lengthy process of shutting down the counter-terrorism programme in anticipation of Congress failing to act, reported Stuff.co.nz.
Meanwhile, intelligence officials warned of a precipitous gap in data collected if Congress failed to come up with a plan before May 31 to either extend the expiry of the programme or to replace it in an orderly fashion over several months.
The process of winding down the programme marks the most significant step taken by the Obama administration to limit bulk data collection since NSA contractor Edward Snowden first leaked documents about the surveillance programme in 2013.