After Paris Attacks, Jeb Bush Calls for Reinstatement of NSA Data Sweeps

Jeb Bush has called for reinstatement of a controversial data-collection program, which was implemented after 9/11 but is set to expire in November. Brian Snyder/Reuters

In response to the Paris attacks, Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush is calling for the U.S. to reinstate its controversial collection of private data.

"I think we need to restore the metadata program, which was part of the Patriot Act," Bush told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Monday, reiterating a call he has made in the past. "I think that was a useful tool to keep us safe and also to protect civil liberties."

The National Security Agency's (NSA) bulk metadata collection program, enacted as part of the Patriot Act after the September 11, 2001, attacks, is set to expire at the end of November. In May, a federal appeals court ruled the program was illegal, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees the program, gave the NSA a six-month deadline to craft a more narrowly tailored program. Under the new program, the NSA must receive prior approval from the court to collect metadata from American citizens.

"This is the time to re-evaluate our policies as it relates to these threats," Bush said. "The threat of global Islamic terrorism is a real one for our country.... There is a lot riding on this. So I think we can have the proper balance of protecting privacy rights and making sure that we use all of the tools of intelligence to keep us safe."

Bush has been a longtime proponent of the bulk metadata collection program. "There's no evidence, not a shred of evidence, that the metadata program has violated anybody's civil liberties," he said on CBS's Face the Nation in May.

The program was first brought to light in 2013 by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Facing charges for his role is revealing the program's existence, he is living in exile in Russia.