Foes of surveillance program vow to fight on after close loss in House

WASHINGTON – Opponents of the National Security Agency’s collection of hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone records insist they will press ahead with their challenge to the massive surveillance program after a narrow defeat in the House.

Furious lobbying and last-minute pleas ensured victory for the Obama administration as the House voted 217-205 on Wednesday to spare the NSA program.

Unbowed, the libertarian-leaning conservatives, tea partiers and liberal Democrats who led the fight say they will try to undo a program they call an unconstitutional intrusion on civil liberties.

The showdown vote marked the first chance for lawmakers to take a stand on the secret surveillance program since former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden leaked classified documents that spelled out the monumental scope of the government’s activities.