LITTLE ROCK — U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said Wednesday he is introducing a bill to stop metadata collected from Americans’ phone calls from being deleted.

LITTLE ROCK — U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said Wednesday he is introducing a bill to stop metadata collected from Americans’ phone calls from being deleted.


On Dec. 1, the USA Freedom Act took effect, imposing limits on the bulk collection of Americans’ phone data. Cotton was the only member of Arkansas’ congressional delegation to vote against the bill, which was introduced after classified memos leaked by Edward Snowden exposed the National Security Agency’s extensive data collection program.


Last month, Cotton introduced the Liberty Through Strength Act, a bill that would have delayed the USA Freedom Act from taking effect until 2017, but was unable to get a vote on it before the Freedom Act took effect. He said Wednesday he is introducing a second bill on the topic, the Liberty Through Strength Act II.


"On Sunday our constitutional, legal, and proven NSA collection architecture shifted to an untested, less effective system in the dead of the night," Cotton said in a statement. "This shift came at a time when our enemies are emboldened and we face an elevated national security threat. Worse, President Obama has decided that he will press delete on the metadata records we currently have, making it impossible to identify terrorist connections among these data that would reveal ISIS and Al Qaeda sleeper cells."


Cotton’s new bill would require the federal government to retain phone metadata for five years and authorize its use for queries; make permanent the Patriot Act’s roving wiretap provisions; make permanent the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act’s "lone wolf" provisions, which allow wiretaps and secret searches on suspected terrorists with no ties to a foreign power; make permanent Title VII of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows warrantless wiretaps on foreign citizens; and clarify the FBI’s authority to obtain electronic communications transactional records under Title 18 of the US Criminal Code.


"The gaps in our intelligence system created by the USA Freedom Act leave us less safe and provide us with fewer tools to fight our enemies," Cotton said. "No matter what President Obama may think, it’s clear ISIS is not contained and that these gaps must be addressed before they attack us again. The Liberty Through Strength Act II ensures our intelligence community has the tools they need keep us safe."