WASHINGTON — In a significant scaling back of national security policy formed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Senate approved legislation on Tuesday curtailing the federal government’s sweeping surveillance of U.S. phone records, and President Barack Obama signed the measure hours later.
The passage of the bill — achieved over the fierce opposition of the Senate majority leader — will allow the government to restart surveillance operations, but with new restrictions.
The legislation signaled a cultural turning point for the nation, almost 14 years after the attacks of 9/11 heralded the construction of a powerful national security apparatus.
“This legislation will strengthen civil liberty safeguards and provide greater public confidence in these programs,” Obama said in a statement Tuesday night. Officials said it could take at least several days to restart the collection.