Patriot Act renewal splits GOP presidential hopefuls

The Republican senators eyeing the presidency are split over renewing the Patriot Act. Parts of the surveillance law expire June 1.

Defense hawks Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Marco Rubio of Florida say the fight against terrorism can’t be effective without the National Security Agency collecting phone information on millions of Americans. Civil libertarians Ted Cruz of Texas and Rand Paul of Kentucky, say the Patriot Act gives the NSA permission to violate peoples’ constitutional rights.

The Senate debate this month gives the quartet a campaign issue that has resonated with Americans since former NSA systems administrator Edward Snowden revealed the program in 2013.

An appeals court on Thursday ruled the program illegal though it allowed it to continue toward the pending deadline.

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