Amash Amendment Narrowly Rejected After Heated (And Partly Ridiculous) Debate
from the lame dept
The worst, by far, were the claims from Rep. Michelle Bachmann, who claimed that the Snowden revelations "helped Islamic jihadists" and that if we don't keep spying on all Americans there will be horrible results... and then immediately lied and claimed that the NSA data collected was "smaller than a phone book" even though others on her side, like Rep. Tom Cotton admitted it was "billions of records." Bachmann's misleading attempt at making a point was because the NSA database doesn't directly include names and addresses, but just phone numbers (and phone calls, locations, people you're calling). What that leaves out is that the NSA can easily connect its database to a phone book and have that information anyway. Or, as Parker Higgins pointed out, if there's less info than a phone book, wouldn't it have been cheaper and easier to just buy the NSA a phone book.
In the end, the Pompeo/Nugent amendment passed by an unfortunately wide margin: 409 to 12. Oddly, the nays were as high as 20 and bounced around up and down for a while, but at the very end of the voting, it looks like a bunch changed their vote. As for the Amash Amendment it wasn't so lopsided. In fact, it was pretty close: 205 voted for the Amash amendment, with 217 against. While the amendment lost, it was pretty damn close, meaning that a very large percentage of Congress appears to be very concerned about NSA bulk collection of data. That bodes well for future reform to limit the NSA.