NSA Defenders In The Senate Flip Out Over Amash Amendment To Stop Dragnet

from the well,-look-at-that dept

Not surprisingly, the NSA’s emergency lobbying to try to stop Rep. Justin Amash’s amendment that will stop the NSA from its bulk data collection program under Section 215 of the Patriot Act (while allowing lots of other surveillance efforts to continue) has drawn support from the Senate’s two biggest supporters of stomping out your privacy: Senators Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss. Together, they’ve put out a ridiculous statement defending the trampling of your Constitutional rights to support the efforts of the NSA and giant government contractors to spy on everything you do.

The FISA business records program has contributed to disrupting numerous terrorist attacks against our nation.

Name one. Seriously. To date, every example given falls apart under scrutiny, as it shows that the NSA’s mass data collection program was not necessary. Furthermore, just because such a program was used doesn’t mean the program makes sense. The bigger question is whether or not other, less intrusive methods, would have been just as effective and (more importantly) whether the country is okay with simply tearing up the 4th and 5th amendments. As stated, we’d probably stop lots of criminal activity if the government was able to put cameras in every room of every house. But we don’t do that because there are costs involved — such as giving up our privacy. Why won’t Senators Feinstein and Chambliss even address this part of the equation?

It has been reviewed and authorized by all three branches of government and is subject to strict controls.

Except that’s not really true. Multiple people in Congress have made it clear that they were not told the full details of the NSA surveillance efforts. And while Congress did “authorize” the program, it was done with a very weak debate and (specifically) public speeches by both Chambliss and Feinstein that were clearly designed to mislead Congress and the American public. As for the “judicial” branch overseeing it, that’s just the totally secret FISA court, with all of its judges selected by one man with no oversight or control, and with all of its decisions held in secret. That’s not quite the “judicial oversight” that most of the public thinks is legitimate.

Since the public disclosure of the business records program, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has explored how the program can be modified to add extra privacy protections without sacrificing its effectiveness.

They’ve done so in secret. The public hearings have been a complete joke with heavily misleading statements to outright perjury from intelligence officials.

We believe this debate in the Congressional Intelligence and Judiciary committees should continue and that any amendments to defund the program on appropriations bills would be unwise.

Yeah, sure. We’ve heard this before. Feinstein got Senator Ron Wyden to drop his hold on the renewal of the FISA Amendments Act (which has been interpreted to allow part of this crazy excessive surveillance) by promising him that there would be a debate in early 2013. That didn’t happen.

Feinstein claiming that there will be continued debate over this issue just isn’t credible. It’s the same line that she’s used to shut down previous attempts to hold these programs back.

Feinstein, Chambliss and the NSA still can’t show how these programs are actually constitutional or necessary. So they resort to their usual FUD. Hopefully, Congress realizes that the American public have had enough of this charade.

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Comments on “NSA Defenders In The Senate Flip Out Over Amash Amendment To Stop Dragnet”

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GMacGuffin says:

Urrrgh Feinstein

She’s my representative. I got a response from her last Friday to one of the “knock it off” emails I sent. It came with a multi-page pdf talking points memo too! It was so chock-full-o-bullshit (as here) that I had to take the rest of the afternoon off and go shoot billiards to avoid destroying any of my belongings or scaring my pets. Only slight exaggeration, and not about Feinstein’s response.

GMacGuffin says:

Re: Re: Urrrgh Feinstein

I just called my congresswoman to ask her to support Amash’s amendment (paraphrasing fightforthefuture.org’s language). I added that, as a tech attorney, I understand what is being collected, and cannot see how NSA’s data collection efforts are remotely constitutional. Dude said “we’ve gotten a lot of calls about that” and he’d absolutely pass it along.

artp (profile) says:

The highest bidder

If I did what Feinstein is doing to support my positions, I would be charged with treason.

Hey, not a bad idea if you flip the positions. Treason for Feinstein? Remember, you heard it here first…..

But then, I really like using treason charges against someone who is selling the country down the river. Our enemies are not just foreign countries, you know. There are some who would purchase our liberties.

Trails (profile) says:

Oh wow, all 3 branches you say?

It has been reviewed and authorized by all three branches of government and is subject to strict controls.

My concern is not alleviated because the government is OK with what it’s doing. This is equivalent to:

All 3 divisions of Exxon have reviewed Exxon’s environmental protections and found them to be sufficient


All 3 divisions of EA have reviewed our customer service record and practices and found them to be exemplary

Anonymous Coward says:

perhaps the road to go down over this is to first get rid of those that keep doing nothing other than outright lying to everyone, whether in government or the public? get these sorted out, then get on with doing what is really needed, ways to get people into work, ways to stop the banking industry from screwing the nation ever again, ways to hold those that did so last time responsible and held accountable and ways to ensure that no one and i mean no one, is on a short list to poverty or worse because of the actions of the (w)bankers, of Congress and the security agencies!!

Anonymous Coward says:

This whole debacle has been about misdirection, lying, claiming falsehoods, everything but the one thing that might save their precious. That is telling the truth and showing justification for all the billions spent in all this spying.

I have the suspicion that if more were known about other projects not named or identified the American people would be just shy of up in arms over it.

No one has been creditable in presenting evidence of even why this mass data collection is even necessary. Those that have been trying to justify it have been caught in lie after lie, distortion after distortion, and justifications that even the most dullest can figure out is a smoke screen.

Without the honest truth, I would favor shutting the whole damn thing down, including bouncing those congresscritters out of office and firing every one of the public officials over these programs not elected until they realize only the exposure of the truth will save any of it.

Where are these GOP budget hawks when it comes to the blatant wasting of taxpayer funds for this spying? Funny there aren’t many of them preening in the spotlight over this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

But slavery could be challenged in public and was.

This situation is entirely different since it is impossible for anyone, not in the know, to give sufficiently specific ideas about how to make it tolerable. It is a world, where you have one side of the lobbying parties being heard and laughing at the other side stabbing in the dark to try and hit their opponents arguments.

Eponymous Coward says:

I think it's time to stop debating the false merits of their case...

…And out them for what they’re up to. It is obvious to me that this isn’t about terrorism, but about establishing/reestablishing control over a populace that has slipped a little from their grasp. My thinking on their motivation is that the elites have been spooked by the rapidly emerging disruption and personal empowerment of technology (which does overlap with terrorism some) and are seeking to get a handle on it. Saddly it isn’t that sexy of a situation in that it’s the same ol’ routine, of those in power fearing a change is in the wind and?attempting?to retain power at all costs, which humanity has witnessed too many times before. Debating this within their framework plays into their hands, only by recontextualizing it can we hope to actually get through this as a society unscathed. It’s not just the MPAA and RIAA that have to except this new normal brought forth through technology, but government as well has to fully understand this in that there isn’t a viable path for them to control this in a functional democracy without them destroying democracy.

Gerare Pierce says:

functional democracy

The real question is whether Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss actually believe this nonsense, or whether the guys who own their dossiers gave them their instructions.

As long as the current NSA exists, we cannot tell whether our “leadership” is owned.

The way these things go, it’s highly probable that they ARE owned.

TriZz (profile) says:

What's stopping us...?

I’m not the biggest political guy (though I live in the DC Metro area, I’ve become a bit anesthetized to it all) — but what, exactly, is stopping us from firing this people? I thought the Constitution allowed us, as a people, to be able to kick these folks out of office?

I’m not trolling. I just a guy who wonders why we continue to put up with this nonsense.

R.H. (profile) says:

Re: What's stopping us...?

Their constituents keep reelecting them so, unless they are found to have broken a law concerning their office, they can’t be impeached. Add to that the fact that the House of Representatives would have to hold the vote impeaching any federally elected official and the Senate would have to actually try said individuals for their alleged crimes and you will find that anything short of providing Iran with American nuclear access codes probably won’t end in removal from office as long as Republicans control one house and Democrats control the other.

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