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Sources: Mass surveillance program ends before latest terrorist attack

Oregon U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden has praised the end of the National Security Agency’s controversial mass surveillance program. But The Associated Press is reporting the change has restricted the FBI’s ability to obtain phone records for the husband suspected in the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorism case.

The change, which took place four days before the deadly Dec. 2 shooting, limits the FBI to obtaining two years of phone records instead of the previous five, according to the AP. That’s roughly the period Tashfeen Malik moved to America and lived with her husband, Syed Farook. Both were killed by law enforcement officials after the attack that claimed 14 lives.

Wyden is a longtime critic of the program. “Today the NSA is shutting down a mass surveillance program that needlessly violated the privacy of millions of Americans every day, without making our country any safer,” he said on Nov. 30, the day it ended.

Novick flexes his campaign muscle

Commissioner Steve Novick is gearing up his 2016 re-election campaign as more candidates file against him. Realtor Fred Stewart became the third candidate to formally file against Novick on Nov. 24, and architect Stuart Emmons says he is still seriously considering the race.

In the meantime, the Novick campaign issued a news release on Dec. 5 highlighting some of the 50 endorsements he had received by then. Prominent names include New Seasons co-founder Stan Amy, Metro Councilor Sam Chase, House Speaker Tina Kotek of Portland, and Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey, who is running for mayor and using the same campaign management firm as Novick, ProspectPDX.

Novick reports raising just under $128,000 in cash and in-kind contributions so far this year. Stewart, his closest competitor, has only raised around $2,000.

Hales supporters switching to Wheeler

In the meantime, Wheeler has begun receiving donations from some of those who supported Mayor Charlie Hales before he dropped out of the race, helping push the state treasurer’s total contributions to more than $214,000 so far this year.

Recent major donations include $1,000 each from developers T.B. Dame and Homer Williams. Dame Consulting gave Hales $5,000 in June and Williams & Dames gave him $15,000 for his 2012 race. Wheeler also has received $15,000 from Portland Timbers owner Merritt Paulson, who gave Hales $500 in March.

Such contributions are likely to increase after Hales refunds the donations he previously received to those who want them back. Although Hales has promised to do so, campaign records show he is still holding onto the $41,012 he had in the bank when he quit the race.

Bailey has yet to report any campaign contributions or expenditures since announcing he is likely to announce for mayor in January.