Amendments Offered To NDAA To Try To Stop NSA Surveillance Abuse

from the forcing-hands dept

If you’re wondering why the USA Freedom Act finally started moving forward again, a good place to look is tomorrow’s vote on re-upping the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), with a variety of folks in the House proposing amendments that would lead to defunding certain NSA activities. As you may recall, last year, Rep. Justin Amash proposed defunding the NSA’s Section 215 bulk data collection program, which came very close to passing. Fearing a similar effort, the House leadership decided to finally get moving on USA Freedom. Of course, with USA Freedom watered down, attention is turning back to the NDAA Amendments, with the vote on all of this happening tomorrow.

There are a ton of amendments, many of which won’t get anywhere at all, but Amash is back with a few amendments, along with Reps. Zoe Lofgren, Rush Holt, Alan Grayson and some others. Amash, Lofgren and Holt have teamed up for a couple of amendments trying to block bulk collection under Section 215. Meanwhile Lofgren and Holt have an amendment to deny funding for the NSA’s weakening of encryption and inserting back doors in technology. Lofgren and Amash, along with Rep. Thomas Massie, have an amendment defunding Section 702 “warrantless wiretapping” efforts. Grayson goes for the gold with an amendment that would block funds for any surveillance done on American citizens inside the US without probable cause. While there’s no way this amendment will get approved, it’s basically just saying “hey, you know what, we should obey the 4th Amendment.”

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Comments on “Amendments Offered To NDAA To Try To Stop NSA Surveillance Abuse”

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David says:

Re: So what?

“hey, you know what, since we know you don’t care about the 4th amendment, we are at least going to stop paying you to violate it”

They’ll do it for free then and earn their money by extortion. They probably already do so for part of their financing, so it would just be a small change.

mcinsand (profile) says:

Re: Re: So what?

Agreed. Nothing will happen to stop undermining the Constitution until there are significant consequences. Activities that undermine the US Constitution need to become criminal offenses. Employees should be held PERSONALLY liable, so that they cannot get off by merely claiming to have been following orders.

Whatever says:

defunding = bypassing the law?

I have to say that defunding seems to be the talking point of the defeated these days. Republicans tried it with Obamacare, and we all know how that turned out. Defunding is essentially an attempt to circumvent the laws as written, to selectively deny money when they cannot muster enough votes to actually change the law.

It’s cheap, and it shows that their desires do not reflect the will of the people. Support defunding here, and you will have to support every other time the minority party tries to usurp the system.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: defunding = bypassing the law?

“Defunding is essentially an attempt to circumvent the laws as written”

That is applicable to the attempt at stopping ACA.

Defunding the violation of existing law (the bill of rights) via secret interpretations of recent congressional authorizations is not circumventing the laws as written.

Whatever says:

Re: Re: defunding = bypassing the law?

If you support them using it this time, then every other time someone comes to the table without enough votes to amend the law, you have to stand up for their right to hold a program or department hostage by choking off it’s funds.

It is generally an idea that won’t work, unless there is some serious horse trading to encourage the majority to support the minority. If they had a clear majority, they would just pass a law to stop or limit the NSA. They don’t have that majority, neither in the house nor in the public at large.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: defunding = bypassing the law?

” you have to stand up for their right to hold a program or department hostage by choking off it’s funds.”

And I do, actually. This is something that Congress is Constitutionally empowered to do, so I don’t fault them for doing it in general. But there’s a big difference between standing up for their right to do it and supporting them in a particular instance of doing it. When this has been done in the past to achieve ends I disagree with, I would never argue that they don’t have the right, but I would argue that it’s not the right thing to do.

“It is generally an idea that won’t work”

This is a time-honored tactic, that has been around (and used frequently)for literally as long as the government has. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

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