Congress Warns DOJ That If It Doesn't Support NSA Reform Plan, It Won't Renew Key Patriot Act Provision

from the get-your-act-together dept

While the USA Freedom Act isn't perfect, it is one bill in Congress that has a lot of support and will fix many problems with the current NSA overreach. Much more needs to be done, but the USA Freedom Act is a good starting point. And yet, the Obama administration and his Justice Department have yet to take a public stand on the bill, and that seems to be annoying plenty of folks in Congress. At the recent Judiciary Committee hearings, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the original author of the Patriot Act and Section 215, made it abundantly clear that the DOJ/NSA's interpretation of his bill was simply incorrect and that they were abusing the system. As the sponsor of the USA Freedom Act to fix this misinterpretation, he pointed out that if the DOJ doesn't agree to support it, there's a good chance that Congress simply won't renew the provisions in Section 215 at all. Section 215, of course, is the part that has been misinterpreted by the DOJ, the FISA court, the NSA and the FBI to pretend it authorizes the collection of every phone record. In short, the message from Congress is: work with us to reform things, or we'll pull the authority altogether. Of course, some of us think that pulling the authority altogether might be a better long term solution.

And it's not just Sensenbrenner making those claims. Many others -- across the political spectrum -- made it clear during the hearing that the NSA's actions with regards to Section 215 were unacceptable and Congress is going to make them change things. Yes, nothing has happened yet, and Congressional bluster doesn't always lead to results, but it's becoming increasingly clear that the NSA (and the President's) desire to keep collecting everyone's metadata is not convincing anyone.


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  1.  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 5th, 2014 @ 2:50pm

    wait, what?!

    The most spineless Congress ever is showing some... *gasp* backbone?!

    ...

    Yeah right, I'll believe it when I see it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 3:41pm

    Re: wait, what?!

    You forget this is an election year. If congress doesn't find something to connect with what the people want, they are very subject to finding someone else getting the votes they think they should have.

    Now whether that carries over to the year after the election is the question. At present I have absolutely no faith at all in these congress critters doing anything for the benefit of the nation unless it is an accidental side benefit from providing their swill handlers what they want.

    It can not have helped to have revealed or by in-admission coming up with the same answer that congress itself is being spied on along with everyone else. Rogers, Feinstein, and King have not helped their case but rather have demonstrated time and again, just what is wrong with the present setup.

     

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    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 3:42pm

    "nothing has happened yet, and Congressional bluster doesn't always lead to results,"

    You so totally undermine their credibility that one has to wonder why you run this.

    "original author of the Patriot Act" -- Yeah, Mike, you can trust him.

    What is this? A political blog? Where's the tech? (126 of 198)

    11:38:57[m-445-3]


    By the way, in case anyone new wanders in: I have to put in the above wacky numbers to prevent the kids from falsely using my screen name. It's one of the standard tactics they attempt to run off the three or four NON-fanboys who haunt here. No one reasonable stays, except for the hoots.

    Speaking of hoots, you should click through the below link to see what sites Techdirt ranks with today:

    Reality versus Mike: Technorati ranks Techdirt below 5000.
    http://technorati.com/blogs/www.techdirt.com
    So why does Mike claim "a consistent Technorati Technology Top 100 rating"?
    http://www.techdirt.com/about.php (74 of 198)

    11:41:50[m-682-5]

     

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  4.  
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    Glen, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 3:46pm

    Queue Reps King and Rogers making insane statements towards Rep Sensenbrenner.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Michael, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re: wait, what?!

    If I could vote in the election to ban ALL current congress persons from ever running again I'd surely take that option (none of the above, and don't let any of these clowns in ever).

    Yes, I'd be throwing out some quality product; but it's sitting in a barrel of mostly rotten apples.

    However I'd want that to be an all or nothing vote; my runner up would probably be someone that a combination of the ACLU and EFF recommend. (Oh silly me, I forget that we don't have popular proportional representation methods and instead have outdated physical location based representation; even outside of the senate).

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 3:49pm

    Re: "nothing has happened yet, and Congressional bluster doesn't always lead to results,"

    "No one reasonable stays, except for the hoots."

    Thanks for finally explaining why you're still here, but this admission of yours is something we all already knew.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 3:55pm

    Well I'm hoping the DOJ doesn't support it I would love that provision be tossed out and not renewed.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Support Snowden, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:04pm

    Thank Ed Snowden for his huge personal sacrifice!

    Courage Foundation (formerly the Journalistic Source Protection Defence Fund - JSPDF) raises money for the legal defence campaign of Mr Edward Snowden. This fund is the only fund endorsed by Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks.

    https://wikileaks.org/freesnowden

    $112,174 raised so far from 2,532 supporters.

    Credit cards, checks, Paypal, wire transfers, and anonymous Bitcoin accepted!

    Bitcoin address: 1snowqQP5VmZgU47i5AWwz9fsgHQg94Fa

     

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  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:17pm

    "nothing has happened yet, and Congressional bluster doesn't always lead to results,"

    You so totally undermine their credibility that one has to wonder why you run this.

    "original author of the Patriot Act" -- Yeah, Mike, you can trust him.


    By the way, in case anyone new wanders in: I have to put in the above wacky numbers to prevent the kids from falsely using my screen name. It's one of the standard tactics they attempt to run off the three or four NON-fanboys who haunt here. No one reasonable stays, except for the hoots.

    Speaking of hoots, you should click through the below link to see what sites Techdirt ranks with today:

    Reality versus Mike: Technorati ranks Techdirt below 5000.
    http://technorati.com/blogs/www.techdirt.com
    So why does Mike claim "a consistent Technorati Technology Top 100 rating"?
    http://www.techdirt.com/about.php (74 of 198)

    12:17:36[n-290-0]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:18pm

    I can't help but laugh at the sheer stupidity of congress. They were all behind the NSA when they were voting on this bill and passing it in the past. But, a funny thing happened. Congress supported the bill/law until they discovered that the NSA, the very agency that was using the very law passed by congress, was turning around and actually spying on the very members of congress who drafted the bill, sponsored the bill, voted for the bill and ultimately passed the bill.

    Now that there is widespread criticism against the very law that congress passed, now even congress is against the very law they passed.

    Here's a hint to the NSA: don't bite the hand that feeds you, because they're gonna slap you down the first chance they get.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Recall Sensenbrenner, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:20pm

    Sensenbrenner still doesn't get it

    This law isn't being "abused" - it's been functioning exactly as it was planned

     

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  12. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:26pm

    HAHAHA Congress

    Congress wont do anything, they don't care about the NSA, they like Masnick just care about their own power and in trying to counter EVERYTHING the Dem's do.

    So if you hoping for Congress to ride up in shinny white horses and save the day, you are going to be waiting for a very long time.

    " (and the President's) desire to keep collecting everyone's metadata is not convincing anyone."

    and Congress saying they are going to actually act and not talk, is not convincing anyone, or that they are acting for the good of the country, and not from partisanship.

    Congress is a joke, but pin your hopes and dreams on them, I am sure they would not let Masnick down!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:27pm

    Re:

    its true Congress is NOT against the NSA, they are against the Dem's, whatever they do, congress opposes it.

    If Obama came out to roll back the NSA Congress would come out in support of MORE NSA.

    Don't you get that Masnick?

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:31pm

    "nothing has happened yet, and Congressional bluster doesn't always lead to results,"

    at least you agree that's its just bluster, and understand this "bluster" DOES NOT LEAD TO RESULTS.
    But feel free to pin your hopes and dreams on the US Congress, but NSA is not going to affect their re-election prospects, therefore Congress will do nothing.

    But they will the opposites game with the Dem's.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:34pm

    pulling the plug completely is the best option! however, if anyone is naive enough to think that the spying would stop, not only are you in cloud cuckoo land, you must be comatose! there is no way in hell that any of the security agencies will be giving up anything! they may have to be even more undercover than at present but they would carry on. then, if anyone was stupid enough to believe what Obama has said about 'protecting whistle blowers' after the evidence of those who have been jailed for doing the right thing, the punishment, if anything, would be similar to what has happened so far, fuck all!! and you would still have people like Rogers doing whatever he can possibly think of to condemn those who want the spying stopped whilst trying to keep the drones killing people! in that scenario, how long before those drones started killing Americans, IN AMERICA?? and guys like him are supposedly protecting the USA?? you must be kiddin' me!!

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:36pm

    Re:

    "Here's a hint to the NSA: don't bite the hand that feeds you, because they're gonna slap you down the first chance they get."

    what they have had no chances to date? for all these years, and in the past 1 plus year your saying Congress has had no chances to 'slap them down' ???

    what do you think Congress cares about more?? Congress or their possible re-election, or partisan politics or the NSA and or the rapidly shrinking group of people again the NSA?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    trollificus (profile), Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:36pm

    Sadly, what will likely happen is a "reform" that allows the NSA to do more 'targeted' data scooping-so they can reassure congresscritters that THEY aren't being targeted.

    That will satisfy Congress and INCREASE the NSAs' snooper powers.

    Always think of the worst possible outcome with Congress.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:45pm

    Congress is SO effective, just look at how they got your Healthcare system shut down!! (oh that's wright it was the Country they shut down!) and did they 'win' that fight?'

    They certainly pulled out all stops to change it, US population basically hates congress, probably as much as TD hates the US Government.

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 4:52pm

    Re:

    That's certainly what Team NSA will likely try to push. However, if I may quote the preceeding AC:
    if anyone is naive enough to think that the spying would stop, not only are you in cloud cuckoo land, you must be comatose! there is no way in hell that any of the security agencies will be giving up anything! they may have to be even more undercover than at present but they would carry on.
    The NSA isn't going to stop spying on anyone. Even if they specifically agree to stop spying on Congress, they'll come up with some reason or another that incidentally happens to cause Congress data to get swept up in their Very Important Anti-Terror programs and it isn't technically spying on THEM exactly and so on and so forth.

    Question is, can Congress figure that out?

     

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  20.  
    identicon
    avideogameplayer, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 5:06pm

    The question is...how dirt do they have on Congress? And what means will the NSA use to stop this?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Feb 5th, 2014 @ 7:11pm

    Re: Re:

    Yeah, the idea that the NSA or any spying agency would ever relinquish such a massive treasure trove of potential blackmail material, material that would allow them to wield enormous power by 'influencing' politicians, both those elected and those looking to get elected... not going to happen unless they are forced to, and it's likely to get quite nasty if it comes to that.

     

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  22. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 7:11pm

    "nothing has happened yet, and Congressional bluster doesn't always lead to results,"

    Gosh, it's just censor city today! Hope you piratey fanboy kids are having fun!

    Anyhoo, here again is what they just have to suppress:


    You so totally undermine their credibility that one has to wonder why you run this.

    "original author of the Patriot Act" -- Yeah, Mike, you can trust him.

    By the way, in case anyone new wanders in: I have to put in the above wacky numbers to prevent the kids from falsely using my screen name. It's one of the standard tactics they attempt to run off the three or four NON-fanboys who haunt here. No one reasonable stays, except for the hoots.

    Speaking of hoots, you should click through the below link to see what sites Techdirt ranks with today:

    Reality versus Mike: Technorati ranks Techdirt below 5000.
    http://technorati.com/blogs/www.techdirt.com
    So why does Mike claim "a consistent Technorati Technology Top 100 rating"?
    http://www.techdirt.com/about.php (74 of 198)

    15:10:50[q-101-5]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 7:25pm

    Re: "nothing has happened yet, and Congressional bluster doesn't always lead to results,"

    talk about having a bet each way, congress won't congress will, you are a fence sitter blue

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 8:02pm

    I hope congress lets Section 215 expire. I want my constitutional rights back!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
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    krolork (profile), Feb 5th, 2014 @ 10:01pm

    We need a revolution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    David, Feb 5th, 2014 @ 11:20pm

    So what?

    Section 215 clearly did not authorize dragnet spying by the NSA, and congress threatens to pull it if a law that says "uh, did you notice that section 215 did not authorize dragnet spying by the NSA" is not going to get passed?

    Who is going to be impressed by that? What kind of threat is that?

    The only threat is when people are going to be put in jail for not following the provisions and intent of section 215. Not going to happen under Eric Holder, so the only viable road is to have him removed from office. There are felonies and transgressions enough in his record that he is not fit for working in government, least of all leading the Department of Justice.

    Other than that, if a section is not reauthorized that did not allow what was done under its name, they'll just declare to operate under some other law that does not allow what is going to be done under its name.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 12:46am

    You're such a rambling fucktard, darryl.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 6th, 2014 @ 5:02am

    Re:

    In short, the message from Congress is: work with us to reform things, or we'll pull the authority altogether.

    Given the history the cynic me is yelling this is pure rhetorics that will result in inaction (or rather a renewal without question). However I do see light at the end of the tunnel. If they live by their word it'll be refreshing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re: Re: wait, what?!

    The problem with the widespread sentiment of "throw the bums out" is it leaves legislative continuity in the hands of lobbyists, which only entrenches the problem.

    This is why many politicians love term limits -- once you get a reputation, you can be more powerful and less accountable as the lobbyist with the money behind the scenes -- without having to put your neck out as a public figure. Even if voters throw their own bum out, the lobbyist will make sure the next guy toes the line just as strictly...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 6:06am

    There seems to be here a presumption that virtually anything done by any branch of our federal government represents governmental overreach and must be truncated. Obviously, this presumption is not unique to here, and under the current environment of "They did and are doing what?!?" may lead the pendulum to swing to a position where otherwise legitimate surveillance activities are hamstrung by procedures that render such activities virtually impossible to perform in a timely manner, or perhaps even perform them at all. It is said that these agencies stretch the law. Does anyone seriously believe that the proposed advocate associated with the FISC court, a lawyer, will do anything less than broadly interpret his/her power and in many instances bring to a virtual halt time-sensitive and non-problematic investigations? This is a part of the proposed House bill that in my view is fraught with problems that should not be enacted in its current form. It is a provision that demands thoughtful consideration in an environment wholly apart from the current political-advantage seeking mob mentality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    [redacted], Feb 6th, 2014 @ 6:28am

    NSa has dirt on these drama queen congressmen.


    ...so does Greenwald and who knows who by now?

    Be patient folks. There is not way it can go on like this forever.

    The way it unfolds now it will burst big time, and the change is coming sooner then you think. I predict.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 6:31am

    What prevents congressmen from withholding money for that @?4^ ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 7:01am

    Re: Re: Re: wait, what?!

    It might be more advantageous to ban gerrymandering and place enforcement in a position where conflict of interest is minimized.

    Yeah, that will never happen either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Guardian, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 7:02am

    WOOOOOOW GO REPUBLICANS

    WOW WOW

    what you bet this happens i cant believe it...seems someone want sot get elected and are worried about what i keep telling americans not to vote DUMBOCRAT or retardicon

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    Loki, Feb 6th, 2014 @ 9:01am

    Re: wait, what?!

    Nah, it's not backbone, it's just more political posturing to try to keep their current power structure relatively intact.

    Only a complete idiot is going to believe that individuals who have consistently and repeatedly lied, deceived, and manipulated current laws and legislation are suddenly going to become honest, dependable, and suddenly responsible because of some new piece of legislation.

    4,000+ years of history has shown that almost without exception, people who abuse power will continue to find ways to abuse power until they are removed from power.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Thomas Bean, Feb 7th, 2014 @ 3:18am

    Talk to a witness and complainant who outed The NSA TSP with my US DOJ OIG complaint that Thomas Tamm heard about at DOJ HQ. No matter what law is passed or interpreted....the bogus assertion of "state secrets" has never been challenged by county, state, or federal prosecutors (even when my innocent known associates were systematically murdered, tortured, stalked, surveilled, and tortured with directed energy weapons).

    I assure you....that in 1986, NSA and NSA TSP was up and running breaking fed and state criminal codes with the monitoring and assent of county, municipal, state and federal cops in South Dakota. The law means nothing...because the military and cops have decided to go rogue with prosecutors at all levels remaining silent.

    "...If they get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers...."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    GEMont, Feb 9th, 2014 @ 1:45pm

    Honor among thieves....

    Its always fascinating to watch criminals' reactions, once they realize that they're not immune to the actions of other criminals, even if they've made a deal and paid their "dues" in full.

    Now that the congress-critters and most of the republican party have started to realize that all of their shady, under-the-table dirty dealings and clandestine porn-site visits may have been recorded for posterity by the fed, we should be hearing a lot more demands for ending the NSA Surveillance Program from people who we would normally expect to be 100% pro NSA. I can hardly wait till Feinstein realizes her phones are tapped too.

    This should be interesting.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    GEMont, Feb 9th, 2014 @ 1:50pm

    Re:

    That was excellent.

    Talking point 302b, if I'm not mistaken.

    The stoopid public cannot be allowed to hamstring the government because the government is the good guys and the public is simply too damn dense to know what is what.

    You wouldn't happen to be working for Mister McCain would you??

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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