Dianne Feinstein Admits That Her 'NSA Reform' Bill Is About Protecting Existing Surveillance Programs

from the oops dept

See, there’s a problem when you lie: you always forget how to keep your story straight. You may remember, for example, that Senator Dianne Feinstein, at the end of October, released a bill that pretended to be about reforming the NSA and its surveillance programs. The bill was spun in a way that was designed to make people think it was creating real reforms, with a fact sheet claiming that it “prohibited” certain actions around bulk data collection, but which actually codified them in the law, by including massive loopholes. It was an incredibly cynical move by Feinstein and her staff, pretending that their bill to actually give the NSA even greater power and to legalize its abuses, was about scaling back the NSA. But that’s the spin they put on it — which almost no one bought.

But, it seems that even Feinstein has forgotten that her bill is supposed to pretend that it’s about reining in the NSA. On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee met with the White House’s task force, to discuss its recommendations for surveillance reform (which don’t go far enough, but go way beyond what Feinstein wants). In discussing what happened in the meeting, Feinstein basically lets slip that she disagrees with the reforms suggested, and that support for her bill means that others are against reform as well:

Those recommendations were criticized by supporters of the NSA’s programs, including Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who has said that taking the information out of the government’s hands could put the country at risk. Feinstein has spoken out against proposed reforms that would require as much, and has sponsored her own committee bill that would preserve the agency’s methods.

“Our bill passed by 11-4, so you know there’s substantial support for the programs,” she said.

In other words, “my bill is for people who already support these programs.” Exactly the opposite of what her marketing and public statements about the bill have been. Oops. Next time, she should try to not misrepresent her own bill, and maybe she can keep her story straight.

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Comments on “Dianne Feinstein Admits That Her 'NSA Reform' Bill Is About Protecting Existing Surveillance Programs”

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25 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

To do what?
Get schooled on the job by the same people who advised the “other” people?

You want to see change you change how law making is done.
You don’t just change people, you get a plan(laws) and then you put people there to follow that plan, otherwise the people with a plan will be happy to welcome any new people in the room with open arms and you lost another chance.

This has been going on for a while, other draft their laws according to how they want things to go and try to put others in there to enact those things, if they can’t do it wholesale they do it piece by piece, but they will do it.

Voting means nothing without a direction, and directions in Washington means draft laws.

Manabi (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sometimes there’s not much choice. My choices for senator next election will be Lamar Alexander, who’s not great but compared to the crazy, extreme-right-wing crazy primarying him looks like Ghandi in comparison. There’s not going to be an Democrat running who’s got a chance in hell of winning here either.

So what do we do? I could (and probably will) write in a candidate that won’t win, but this will not stop the incumbent from winning. (Or worse, if Alexander loses the primary, the crazy right-wing guy from winning.)

What we need are some decent candidates, period. Ones that are both sane and can win.

Joe says:

Re: Re: Re:

There’s always a choice. The myth that you can only vote Dem or Repub is the problem. Run another candidate. Organize a grassroots campaign. If TN is as anti-democratic as many other southern states and you can’t get on the ballot, then run a write-in campaign. Just don’t sit there and say there wasn’t another choice.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The problem isn’t really the incumbents per se. The problem is the money. Obtaining political office pretty much requires taking bribes (ahem “donations”) from powerful, moneyed interests.

I think some form of public financing for elections is a good first start at reform. No more private donations, period. Every candidate has the same sized warchest, and that warchest should not even approach the many millions of dollars that they are now.

If that’s not a possible goal, then second best would be to outlaw all political advertising on TV — eliminating the #1 reason that huge warchests are required.

Anonymous Coward says:

Isn’t the US Government supposed to be about “We the People” ?

I swear that this illegal spying and violating the rights of every US citizen should be considered an act of treason. Undermining encryption protocols and putting US infrastructure at risk, an act of high treason.

IMHO, this shouldn’t even be a debate, but we should just see heads rolling.

Irving says:

Re: Re:

Taking money out of politics is easy; federally-supplied campaign funding per candidate with any attempt to donate outside money prosecuted as bribery would do the trick.

Of course, this would require some sort of compensatory nomination scheme to allow only serious independents access to these funds. Setting the number of backers required to file a nomination at the proper level is key to accepting good candidates without encouraging non-serious contenders.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

As an Englishman, I like non-serious candidates. The Monster Raving Loony Party was the one of the first things that got me to take notice of politics, in fact.

Taking money out of politics is a very good idea, but placing limits on who is deemed “serious” to be eligible to run is a very bad one and ripe for abuse. I don’t personally see the problem with funding the “non-serious” people, as long as it’s verified that every penny is spent on actual campaign work and not funnelled elsewhere for profit.

Rapnel (profile) says:

It simply boggles the mind that this woman has any credibility whatsoever in matters pertaining to intelligence. Her top donors are pretty heavily vested in taking in the money of the American people. She’s proven beyond a reasonable doubt whose interests hold sway over her actions.

Feinstein is a staunch supporter of the U.S Surveillance State (USSS).

How comfortable her life must be as one of the richest members of the Senate. Living proof that you can buy and sell anything.

… I wonder what the future holds.

I am decidedly disgusted.

Treacherous wench.

Doc Holiday says:

Just A Min here...

Wheres the controversy?
It’s true that the Bill is named “reform” but Feinstein has clearly stated her position was in support for ongoing cell phone metadata surveillance, but with the provision that the records may only be reviewed by NSA when proper authority or warrants have been issued.
I’m not so sure I agree with it, there’s been no evidence it keeps America any safer to have EVERYONES phones tapped
– but –
This article has not given any surprising or shocking evidence of a change in direction or another for Fienstiens positions. It seems this site is all about generating (revenue) traffic off of “possible” stories

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