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Cotton: Senate May Need Closed Session for NSA Debate

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Sen. Tom Cotton defended a National Security Agency data collection program on the Senate floor Thursday, suggesting a closed session may be needed to review its merits after a federal appeals court ruled earlier in the day it exceeded what Congress authorized in Section 215 of the Patriot Act. “Most of the information surrounding [terrorist] plots and the programs are classified. The intelligence community has been very accommodating in providing classified briefings to members of the Senate and the Congress. The issue though, is often getting members to attend, or to go visit with the agencies. That’s why I believe the Senate may have to enter a closed session as we debate these programs, so that members are not willfully ignorant of the threat that America faces.” Cotton’s comments come as the Senate is considering proposals to reauthorize or revamp the program before its authorities expires on June 1.