NSA Defenders In The Senate Flip Out Over Amash Amendment To Stop Dragnet

from the well,-look-at-that dept

Not surprisingly, the NSA's emergency lobbying to try to stop Rep. Justin Amash's amendment that will stop the NSA from its bulk data collection program under Section 215 of the Patriot Act (while allowing lots of other surveillance efforts to continue) has drawn support from the Senate's two biggest supporters of stomping out your privacy: Senators Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss. Together, they've put out a ridiculous statement defending the trampling of your Constitutional rights to support the efforts of the NSA and giant government contractors to spy on everything you do.
The FISA business records program has contributed to disrupting numerous terrorist attacks against our nation.
Name one. Seriously. To date, every example given falls apart under scrutiny, as it shows that the NSA's mass data collection program was not necessary. Furthermore, just because such a program was used doesn't mean the program makes sense. The bigger question is whether or not other, less intrusive methods, would have been just as effective and (more importantly) whether the country is okay with simply tearing up the 4th and 5th amendments. As stated, we'd probably stop lots of criminal activity if the government was able to put cameras in every room of every house. But we don't do that because there are costs involved -- such as giving up our privacy. Why won't Senators Feinstein and Chambliss even address this part of the equation?
It has been reviewed and authorized by all three branches of government and is subject to strict controls.
Except that's not really true. Multiple people in Congress have made it clear that they were not told the full details of the NSA surveillance efforts. And while Congress did "authorize" the program, it was done with a very weak debate and (specifically) public speeches by both Chambliss and Feinstein that were clearly designed to mislead Congress and the American public. As for the "judicial" branch overseeing it, that's just the totally secret FISA court, with all of its judges selected by one man with no oversight or control, and with all of its decisions held in secret. That's not quite the "judicial oversight" that most of the public thinks is legitimate.
Since the public disclosure of the business records program, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has explored how the program can be modified to add extra privacy protections without sacrificing its effectiveness.
They've done so in secret. The public hearings have been a complete joke with heavily misleading statements to outright perjury from intelligence officials.
We believe this debate in the Congressional Intelligence and Judiciary committees should continue and that any amendments to defund the program on appropriations bills would be unwise.
Yeah, sure. We've heard this before. Feinstein got Senator Ron Wyden to drop his hold on the renewal of the FISA Amendments Act (which has been interpreted to allow part of this crazy excessive surveillance) by promising him that there would be a debate in early 2013. That didn't happen.

Feinstein claiming that there will be continued debate over this issue just isn't credible. It's the same line that she's used to shut down previous attempts to hold these programs back.

Feinstein, Chambliss and the NSA still can't show how these programs are actually constitutional or necessary. So they resort to their usual FUD. Hopefully, Congress realizes that the American public have had enough of this charade.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: dianne feinstein, justin amash, nsa, nsa surveillance, saxby chambliss

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    AC Unknown (profile), 23 Jul 2013 @ 2:45pm


    They're too busy trying to repeal the ACA (which IIRC cost far less than the spying).

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.