If you’re making a phone call today, there’s a chance the NSA might not know about it. The spy agency was forced to halt its collection of bulk telephone metadata early Monday after the Senate failed to extend three key provisions of the 2001 Patriot Act that expired at midnight. The lapse was a victory for Senator Rand Paul and activists who have campaigned against post-9/11 government surveillance programs—but it will likely only be a temporary one. While the Senate was stymied by Paul’s procedural hurdles on Sunday, it is likely to vote by mid-week on House-passed legislation that would reform the NSA’s spying powers while extending the Patriot Act for several years. Read more >>
The cartoon by Chappatte from the International New York Times shows an NSA surveillance agent at work. There is music coming through his headphones and he tells his superior, "I've been put on hold by Congress".
The cartoon plays on two meanings of the expression on hold. If something is on hold, it is going to be done or dealt with at a later date rather than now. • The plans are on hold until after the election. And if you are on hold, you are waiting to talk to someone on the telephone. • The agent put me on hold while she consulted a colleague.