Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lies

from the sad dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about a ridiculous misinformation campaign that was being sent around by House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes against an amendment (sponsored by Reps. Thomas Massie and Zoe Lofgren) to a Defense appropriations bill that would block spending on two different kinds of surveillance “backdoors.” First, ending backdoor searches, whereby tons of information on Americans that was collected “incidentally” as part of other searches, and then kept, could be scanned without requiring the showing of probable cause. Second, blocking the NSA from requiring backdoors into encryption technologies. A basically identical amendment easily passed in each of the last two years, but was stripped out before a final bill was approved.

With so much focus on things like iPhone encryption this year, some were wondering how the House would handle the amendment this year, and Nunes apparently decided to ramp up the pure FUD and lies against it, sending around a letter that exploited the Orlando shootings from this weekend, falsely claiming that the bill would block law enforcement/intelligence from scanning the 702 database for connections between the shooter and overseas individuals. This is wrong (never mind the fact that the CIA admitted yesterday that it can’t find any connections at all). There are plenty of other tools available, including the ability to get a warrant, for officials to search for the relevant data. Nothing in the amendment would have stopped that at all. It only stops the random sniffing through the database, without cause.

But, apparently such disinformation works. The amendment was narrowly voted down by the house, 198 – 222. Massie has said that he thinks Nunes’ propaganda campaign was partly to blame.

Rep. Thomas Massie… the sponsor of the amendment the last three years, said he thought there were two reasons the proposal failed on Thursday. “I think it was about Orlando and a stronger disinformation campaign from the committee,” he said, referring to a letter from Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes… that criticized the amendment.

“We had a stiff headwind,” Massie continued. “But I think the winds will eventually change, and we’ll prevail one day.”

And it appears that Nunes’ lies worked so well they were parroted by others during the debate:

Rep. Chris Stewart… who said he rose “to oppose the Massie amendment and the inaccurate accusations that underly it,” argued that if the proposal were in effect today, the intelligence community would be unable to search the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act database for information on the deceased Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen. FISA is a law used to collect data on foreigners, but the National Security Agency dragnet also catches information on U.S. citizens who interact with those foreigners.

“We should be focused on thwarting terrorist attacks,” Stewart said Wednesday, “not on thwarting the ability of intelligence professionals to investigate and stop them.”

The only inaccurate accusations, though, are the ones put forth by Stewart here. NOTHING in the amendment would have thwarted anyone’s ability to investigate the Mateen shooting or any other attack.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte repeated the same false thing as well:

“This amendment prohibits the government from searching data already in its possession, collected lawfully under section 702 of FISA, to determine whether Omar Mateen was in contact with foreign terrorists overseas.”

Except it doesn’t.

It’s disappointing, if not that surprising, that it appears that the blatant misinformation and lies succeed to convince Congress to sanction practices that appear to be in conflict with the 4th Amendment.

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Comments on “Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lies”

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25 Comments
Capt ICE Enforcer says:

FUD is a tool we need.

FUD is usually looked upon as being an evil way to accomplish bad things. But instead we should consider it as a mere tool such as a gun or knife. Imagine for all the FUD campaigns that the government sends out we would send out 4x as much involving the real version of it. They want backdoor access to encryption. We would explain how the average individual would be able to steal all their money. Kidnap their family, launch nuclear missiles and kill puppies. The kill puppies is the final nail in the coffin of our opponents FUD. As nobody would want to risk the lives of puppies.

Daydream says:

Re: FUD is a tool we need.

“It is indisputable fact that several organized crime syndicates working out of New York City and other major American cities, are using fabricated copyright claims against themselves and settlements in order to launder money with the help of the Big Intellectual Property groups. They’re targeted by a claim, they send the money off, they get back their squeaky-clean cut.”

“These Big I.P. organizations are in turn paying millions of dollars in lobbying senators for not only stronger copyright legislation to help hide their laundering, but to sponsor backdoors in commonly used software, including financial software, and if this is allowed, the American Mafia will use these backdoors to commit identity theft on an unheard of scale!”

David says:

Of course disinformation works

Particularly opinionated disinformation, also know as propaganda.

Just look at the results of the primaries so far.

Congresspeople are representatives, just like the ones voting for the ultimate presidential candidates.

It would be suspicious if they didn’t lick up any incoherent pseudo-patriotic cool aid: then it would be inconsistent with the current crop of presidential candidates.

So it’s great to see that the U.S. political system leads to consistent results representing the political education and acumen of the populace diligently.

This is how democracy is supposed to work.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Of course disinformation works

You were okay until you had to lean a direction.

The Kool-Aid is drank by all sides. Every candidate will have something wrong with them, there is no avoiding that. There is something I like and hate about every president we have had through out history.

The political system is not what leads us to these terrible results. The fault will eternally be with the people doing the voting. We are responsible for stopping this and we are failing.

Every Nation gets the government it deserves

~Joseph de Maistre

David says:

Re: Re:

Particularly when the whole point of paying them a salary for making the decision is for them to acquire a better understanding of the matter than their constituents.

If they are not doing the job they are paid for, the constituents would be better off voting themselves.

It’s like paying some handyman for a job where you end up doing more work than if you did it yourself in the first place, and having to pay the guy for making your life harder.

Mohammed Cohen says:

Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lie

Read the Master Plan “Protocol of the Learned Elders of Zion” to understand when and how these diabolical “chosen people” tactfully and sneakingly crept into each and every segment of our American government, media, banks and our social structures to eat through the roots of America’s greatness. I’m afraid its way too late to reverse the clock as the momentum of this evil cabal is way too strong to slow down, forget about stopping it. Read the history and find out how these parasites have hollowed each and every empire in the past! God help us all!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lie

All is lost, give up now and save yourself all that frustration and agony – then read about how it is the fault of others and you are not complicit – feel the rage – Yesssssss, this is the path to the Dark Side.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lie

Allah in Hades, I hope this is satire…

“Read the Master Plan “Protocol of the Learned Elders of Zion” to understand when and how these diabolical “chosen people” tactfully and sneakingly crept into each and every segment of our American government, media, banks and our social structures to eat through the roots of America’s greatness.”

David says:

Re: Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lie

Henry Ford, is that you? Go back into your grave. Some Austrian landscape painter went overboard on this antisemitism thing in Europe and it went out of fashion. Like, really overboard. Nuts enough to scare a squirrel. A few hundred millions considered it a good idea. Until they didn’t.

These days, our favorite Middle Eastern punching bags responsible for all evil are Arabs, preferably of Islamic religion.

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