WASHINGTON -- Colorado Sen. Mark Udall (D) said on Sunday that any arguments against reform of the National Security Agency's surveillance programs crumbled this past week, following the release of a White House report that criticized the programs and a judge's ruling that questioned their constitutionality.
Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Udall said, "The arguments for the status quo fell apart this week in Washington."
"It's now time to really fundamentally reform the way in which the NSA operates," he said.
Udall pointed to the 46 recommendations contained in the White House panel's report. They include the establishment of an independent privacy panel, the presence of public advocates at secret surveillance court hearings, and better protections for whistleblowers.
Also this week, a federal judge ruled that the NSA's massive telephone metadata dragnet is likely unconstitutional because it violates the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden earlier this year revealed that the spy agency collects information on tens of millions of phone calls by private citizens worldwide.
As a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Udall has long been aware of the NSA's surveillance programs, but until Snowden made the highly classified programs public, Udall was forbidden to discuss them. Nevertheless, he said he feels like he has "been shouting from the wilderness" for years about the NSA violations of privacy.
"It's time now to have real reform, not a veneer of reform," Udall told host George Stephanopoulos, and "to rebuild the American people's trust in our intelligence community."
Udall stopped short of praising Snowden, however, despite the positive changes likely to arise from the latter's landmark, and still ongoing, documents release. Snowden has received temporary asylum in Russia, but Udall said he should return to the United States to face charges.
"He broke his oath. He broke the law. Come home, make the case that somehow there was a higher purpose here," Udall said.