Senator Leahy: If President Obama Is Serious About Ending Bulk Collection, He Can Just End It This Friday

from the easy-peasy dept

As expected, President Obama outlined basic plans for ending bulk collection of phone records. While the actual details of the plan still haven’t been revealed, apparently, the administration has some “enabling legislation” ready to go, which it hopes Congress will pass “quickly.” In response to this, Senator Patrick Leahy pointed out that while he’s very supportive of the move to end bulk collection of phone records, there’s a much easier way to accomplish that. The authority to do so technically runs out on Friday of this week, so if the President wants to end the program, he can just not seek to renew the authority:

I look forward to having meaningful consultation with the administration on these matters and reviewing its proposal to evaluate whether it sufficiently protects Americans’ privacy. In the meantime, the President could end bulk collection once and for all on Friday by not seeking reauthorization of this program. Rather than postponing action any longer, I hope he chooses this path.

Anyone setting odds on the likelihood of this actually happening?

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Comments on “Senator Leahy: If President Obama Is Serious About Ending Bulk Collection, He Can Just End It This Friday”

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AjStechd (profile) says:

Alphabet agencies will fight tooth and nail to keep data collection going strong. They’ve consistently lied about almost every aspect of these programs and you can bet are busy working out ways to circumvent any upcoming restrictions. Lets face it, this is just theater to quiet and reassure the public. People also need to realize that the president doesn’t have as much power as they think.

kenichi tanaka (profile) says:

If this gets approved by Congress and Obama signs it into law, it only says one thing: that President Obama and the Democratic Party have come to the realization that the NSA and their bulk data collection of every American has indeed become detrimental to the re-election chances of Democrats for the U.S. Congress.

At any rate, it doesn’t matter what Obama does. While the November elections are not set in stone as to who will win, Democrats are not going to prevail in November because of everything that has happened since Snowden revealed the hypocracy of the Obama Administration.

The NSA spying has caused irreparable harm to Democrats. But, if this had happened under under the Republican’s watch, then it would be the Republicans paying the price.

It’s just ironic that Democrats, who have long fought for constitutional rights and lessening government intrusion into our lives IS the very same party who has been raping our constitutional rights when it comes to privacy.

I suppose the motto of the Obama Administration is “do as we say and NOT as we do”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What’s ironic is that the republicans havn’t done more with how much they cry about violation of amendments. Oh they cried and cried about how nationalized health care is unconstitutional and that obama should be impeached.

Here we have pretty clear reasons to try to impeach the guy and what do republicans do? Stick their thumbs firmly up their asses.

Republicans, democrats, blacks, whites, it doesn’t matter one iota. The government is a corrupt self serving shit show. Probably has been since day 1, we can just diagnose the disease easier now.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

At this point it’s not really tin-foil hat territory, as the various spy agencies have shown that they are willing to do pretty much anything to protect their precious programs.

For example, from an earlier article:

?I salute Sen. Feinstein,? Pelosi said at her weekly news conference of the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. ?I?ll tell you, you take on the intelligence community, you?re a person of courage, and she does not do that lightly. Not without evidence, and when I say evidence, documentation of what it is that she is putting forth.?

Pelosi added that she has always fought for checks and balances on CIA activity and its interactions with Congress: ?You don?t fight it without a price because they come after you and they don?t always tell the truth.”


Anonymous Coward says:

I’m waiting for the Terror threat that usually happens prior to anything possibly being rolled back. I think he’ll keep it going ,I don’t have faith that the Corporation I mean Government will do anything that protects everyday Citizens rights.
Since the Reagan era our nations government has turned into a corporation treating it’s citizens like the lowest paid workers, so think to yourself ,what would walmart do.

Anonymous Coward says:

To be fair

If he ended the bulk phone collection immediately by executive order it would probably mean firing a whole bunch of people, as their jobs would no longer exist. Maybe he’s worried about the effect that eliminating an entire federal department would have on the economy and the job growth index? Given that the federal government is better at adding jobs than American private employers…

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: To be fair

Private MISC* companies are parasitic on Federal and state jobs as they create no wealth and only consume tax. Some are valuable to a society, and some are a pure drain on society…

FIFY. Remember, much of the surveillance work was lobbied for by private companies via people like Feinstein and is run on their equipment.

*Military-industrial-surveillance complex

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: To be fair

Parasitic or not (and I generally agree that most surveillance outside of direct military targets, like say Sigint on Russian troop movements are pretty useless) they’re still jobs, and thus employed consumers.

Sadly America’s economy right now hinges completely on consumption and parasitism as opposed to actual useful labor. The goal of the US government in helping the economy right now is to make as many people as capable of consuming as many resources as possible.

Sadly by US gov logic BS parasitic jobs are not just necessary, but ideal. Consumption without production, without services provided, and with years of training tied up in it? job source gold!

And that is why the US government, and other governments with similar ideologies, are starting surveillance states. Orwell was wrong. We don’t spy on our people to control them. We wound up doing it just so we had idle makework that was more advanced than digging ditches and refilling them

Anonymous Coward says:

Obama supports this spying 100%. A complete 180? about face from what Senator Obama opposed. Now what could cause that?

Senator Obama claimed to have wanted to run the most transparent administration in history. His deeds in that are precisely 180? from those claims with a recent news article claiming this administration was the most secretive he’d ever encountered. Now what would cause that?

President Obama has used the 1917 Espionage Law to prosecute more whistle blowers than all the rest of the presidents of history totaled together. Now what would cause that?

President Obama will not end the spying on his own. His reaction to the NSA investigation committee tells you he won’t. His changes he proposed were next to nothing in actual preventive and stopping such data gathering practices. The fact that he wants legislation from congress tells me one thing. He wants a bill proposed that some other congress critter and slip in changes that make it all legal or change the intention of some of that bill. Otherwise he could as do as Senator Leahy suggests and just not seek renewal.

You can bet the renewal will happen. There are too many co-incidences that leave you with the suspicion that Obama has something to hide he’s worried about becoming public.

Anonymous Coward says:


odds- about the same as monkeys flying out my butt singing the star spangled banner.

Unless the gesture is somehow meaningless by some other secret standard or double speak loophole.

They probably need time to write the “don’t rape the constitution act”, which will remove it’s pants and lube it up, while also coining a new class of ‘enhanced legal probing techniques’ and redefining rape as anything that disturbs the powerful.

Anonymous Coward says:

"Anyone setting odds on the likelihood of this actually happening?"

Never gonna happen. Obama’s going to proclaim that he wants to end bulk collection, turn right around and renew the bulk collection, then turn around again and claim that he’s doing everything in his power to end bulk collection.

Can’t have 1984 mass surveillance without 1984 doublethink, now can we?

DerekCurrie (profile) says:

There Is No Law Authorizing Breaking The Fourth Amendment

The end of this is simple:
Stop breaking the Fourth Amendment President Obama and Congress.

But no, we have to be LIED to, over and over from various perspectives as if all of the mass surveillance of US citizens on US soil was ever legal. No it wasn’t. Not ever. There is no law authorizing it, not a single one. Deceit rules and apparently we’re too stupid to recognize that everything coming out of the politician’s mouths is either ignorant and deliberately wrong.

The simple cure: Read the US Constitution and follow it. The politicians have all sworn to protect and defend the US Constitution. So do your job and cut the corruption. The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution could not be more simple and obvious:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

There are no excuses for breaking the Fourth Amendment, ever. How about we impeach all the treasonous liars? That’s the American thing to do.

David says:

Re: There Is No Law Authorizing Breaking The Fourth Amendment

There are no excuses for breaking the Fourth Amendment, ever. How about we impeach all the treasonous liars? That’s the American thing to do.

It would mean Snowden has won, and we can’t have that. And where are you going to find replacements for all those high-ranking officials? The White House could get vandalized if abandoned.

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