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Rollback of U.S. spy powers would mark post-9/11 watershed

Rollback of U.S. spy powers would mark post-9/11 watershed

A National Security Agency data gathering facility is seen in Bluffdale, south of Salt Lake City

By Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) – At 3:59 p.m. EDT on Sunday, the National Security Agency and telecommunications companies will begin mothballing a once-secret system that collected Americans’ bulk telephone records, shutting down computers and sealing off warehouses of digital data. If the U.S. Congress fails to act, key provisions of the USA Patriot Act will lapse in a watershed moment in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, era. Intrusive government powers, created and wielded in the name of preventing another mass-casualty terrorist attack, would be at least partly scaled back, proponents and critics of the surveillance say.

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