Seeing Opportunity, Congress Tries To Rush Through Its Plan To Legalize FBI Abuses Citing 'Orlando!'
from the let-no-crisis-go-unwasted dept
Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about the FBI pushing strongly for an update to the law that covers National Security Letters (NSLs) to cover up the fact that the FBI has been using them to get electronic communications records. The current law on NSLs doesn’t cover that information, though the FBI insists that it’s just a “typo” in the law, and still frequently asks for them in its NSLs, because NSL recipients often don’t know the law themselves and will still turn over the info. Of course, it helps that the NSLs often come with gag orders. Reports going back a decade have shown that the FBI has a serious problem with abusing its NSL powers to get lots of information it’s not supposed to have. And rather than do something to stop such abuses, the FBI’s friends in Congress have, instead, been trying to legalize such abusive practices to allow the FBI to do even more.
And, in the spirit of “leave no crisis unexploited,” Senator Mitch McConnell is pushing forward on the amendment put forth by Senators McCain and Cornyn to expand NSLs. And, cynically, they’re citing the Orlando shootings as the reason why, despite the fact that this amendment was being pushed for before the shootings even occurred and the fact that this would have done absolutely nothing to stop the shootings.
?In the wake of the tragic massacre in Orlando, it is important our law enforcement have the tools they need to conduct counterterrorism investigations,? Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican and sponsor of the amendment, said in a statement.
The FBI and others in law enforcement already have plenty of tools to do counterterrorism investigations (and, again, it’s not even clear that the Orlando shooting was a terrorist activity in the first place). Nothing in this amendment would change how the FBI was investigating the attack. This is just McCain, McConnell and others exploiting the shooting to help the FBI further abuse its surveillance powers.