Senate Intelligence Committee Rejects A Bunch Of Attempts To Amend Dianne Feinstein's Fake NSA Reform Bill
from the but-of-course dept
The Senate Intelligence Committee apparently just voted on Dianne Feinstein’s fake NSA reform bill, which actually legalizes all of the illegal spying and adds a few new ways for the government to spy on everyone. Some of the members of the committee tried to add some amendments which would have made the bill do at least a few minor useful things, but it sounds like all of those were rejected. Incredibly, even though the NSA has been indicating pretty strongly that it’s fine if the data it collects can only be held for three years, rather than the five it currently uses, an amendment limiting such data collection to three years was rejected. Even Dianne Feinstein supported that amendment, but increasingly disappointing Senator Angus King (like so many politicians, he seemed promising… until he got into office) voted with the Republicans on the Committee who all wanted to keep the surveillance backups for five years. As for other amendments, here’s how Politico summarized them:
Another 7-8 casualty in the intel panel mark-up was a provision to ban the bulk collection of cell-site information that can show where a caller is physically located at the time of making or receiving a call. The NSA has acknowledged running experiments to handle such data, but says it isn’t collecting it now. Most panel Democrats supported the geolocation data ban, and most Republicans opposed it, but some crossed the lines. Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), whose state is home to the NSA, voted against the ban. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted for it.
The third proposed reform to fall 7-8 was an amendment by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to require that any Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court decision finding a violation of the Constitution be made public. Again, most Democrats supported the proposal, while most Republicans opposed it. This time, Feinstein and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) bucked their Democratic colleagues. Collins joined with six Democrats in favor of the transparency mandate.
The overall bill passed out of committee 11-4, with Senators Wyden, Udall, Heinrich and Coburn voting against it. As the Politico article notes, Coburn voting against it is a bit of a surprise, since he’s been seen as an NSA supporter. In fact, the article suggests he voted against it because he thinks it puts too many restrictions on the NSA, which is crazy since it puts fewer restrictions than they have today. Specifically, Coburn doesn’t want any limits on how long the NSA can keep your data, which is downright nutty.