Senate Rejects Final FISA Amendment, Lets Spying Program Stay Shrouded In Secrecy

from the what-4th-amendment? dept

Yesterday, we covered the rushed last-minute debate over the FISA Amendments Act, after which three critical amendments that would have brought some accountability to the NSA’s spying program were all struck down. This morning, the fourth and final such amendment from Senators Wyden and Udall was also rejected, in a vote of 52 to 43, meaning FISA will now move forward in its current (and likely unconstitutional) form.

What was in the Wyden-Udall amendment? Even according to the White House’s leaked talking points, which were strongly opposed to the amendments, it sounds like something that just makes sense:

What the Amendment Does: Requires the DNI to submit a report to Congress and the public on the impact FAA and other surveillance authorities have on the privacy of United States persons.

As Wyden has pointed out in the past, and re-iterated during debate this morning, not only is Congress unable to get an estimate from the NSA on how many American citizens have been spied on through FISA, he is unable to even get a yes or no answer as to whether such an estimate exists. Considering FISA is supposed to be subject to Congressional oversight, this seems like a pretty big problem, and one worth fixing before renewing the program for another five years. Instead, the Senate voted to wash its hands of the issue, despite solid evidence that the NSA is engaged in widespread spying on US citizens and at least one known instance in which the 4th Amendment was violated. So much for checks and balances.

Update: As expected, immediately following the rejection of this amendment, the Senate voted to extend FISA for another five years.

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Comments on “Senate Rejects Final FISA Amendment, Lets Spying Program Stay Shrouded In Secrecy”

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Jay (profile) says:

Which is it?

“Well, Doctor, what have we got?a Republic or a Monarchy??

Ben Franklin was asked this question at the end of the constitutional Convention. His answer was telling:

“A republic if you can keep it”

So at the end of this debacle in the interest of the public commonwealth we should ask ourselves…

What do we have in front of us? We have had our rights infringed upon worse than England did at the behest of the East India Company at the beginning of the American Revolution. Or laws no longer protect the people, but the very rich from prosecution. We can’t reference the Magna Carta because it no longer applies to American law.

We heap piles of debt on our children, say it’s a good debt, but then keep them in bad jobs as indentured servants, enslaved to their debts that cannot go away.

We don’t invite the best and brightest into the country, we merely discriminate against them as job competitors. And our government merely responds to the rich, silencing the voices of millions through rigged elections to their own specialized interests.

So which is it?

Have we fought for our democracy or have we fought for a monarchy?

Matt (user link) says:

Email privacy

Five more years. Five more years. Not happy about that? There are alternatives. One is ThreadThat dot com. Free and easy-to-use. Keep your electronic communications private with end-to-end military-grade encryption. Everything you share is encrypted while in-transit and while at-rest on TT servers. You can create and share your own pass keys to encrypt your messages and files. Nothing you share is ever transmitted across an email server.

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