Restore The 4th Activists Convince Rep. Meeks To Delay Flight To Discuss His Vote To Keep NSA Surveillance

from the having-an-impact dept

This is fairly impressive. Some members of the "Restore the 4th" effort who organized the widespread protests on July 4th against NSA surveillance decided to hold something of a sit-in protest at the office of Rep. Gregory Meeks in New York, since he voted against the Amash amendment. Protests like that happen every so often, but what almost never happens is for elected officials to delay their flight and spend some time actually debating with the protesters. But that's exactly what happened, as you can see in the video below:
Meeks enters the room a few minutes in, and then there's a mostly respectful discussion. Meeks starts out by repeating many of the NSA's standard talking points defending the program. The protesters focus in on the key question, as to whether or not Meeks believes that the FISA court order that allows for the collection of records on every single phone call meets the standard in the 4th Amendment to make it constitutional. He resists answering the question repeatedly, before finally saying that he believes that based on the court's interpretation, it is constitutional, but makes sure to distinguish that from his own opinion. Following that, the protesters point out that it's difficult to just "trust" the government when the public's been kept in the dark so long, which leads Meeks to claim that he is supportive of making the program more transparent. At the very end (right as the video cuts off), Meeks claims that he's taken an oath to protect the American people -- and a protester points out that's false, that his oath is to protect the Constitution. Incredibly, Meeks disagrees, but his final point is cut off as the video ends. Meeks is simply wrong on this point. The oath is to protect the Constitution.

Either way, just the fact that Meeks would meet with protesters is fairly incredible, and the fact that he'd delay his flight to do so is even more unheard of. It basically doesn't happen. Doing so makes it pretty clear that the public outcry against this surveillance is really having an impact.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 10:05am

    This is why these jokers are corrupt and can't be trusted.

    This oath is unambiguous and to the point. It flat out says, first, protect the constitution. Yet, they've found so many ways to twist words of the english language or to outright ignore them completely. Secret laws, secret interpretations of those secret laws, secret courts, secret interpretations of the constitution, attempts to redefine words in the english language.

    This is unambiguous.

    I, AB, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 10:08am

    i find it absolutely incredible that a elected Congressman, doesn't know that his oath is to protect the Constitution first and foremost! what right has anyone got to be elected into office if they dont even know what oath they swore? the idea he has is one that has been put out by those that have used the 'protect the people' first so as to justify what the NSA etc have been doing! the NSA are as bad perhaps even worse than those they have quickly blamed for 'aiding the enemy' and for 'treasonous behavior'! the constitution may well only be a 'piece of paper', but lose that, leaving no ideals to live up to and everything else will very quickly turn to rat shit!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Jul 30th, 2013 @ 10:15am

    That OTHER oath

    Maybe Meeks is refering to the oath where he swears to keep the public safe. And the NSA secret.

    Oh, yeah, that oath's top secret.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    DannyB (profile), Jul 30th, 2013 @ 10:57am

    Re: That OTHER oath

    It's the oath to protect corporate profits from reality, both foreign and domestic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 11:03am

    Rep. Meeks, this sir, IS your constituency. These are the VERY people you were elected to represent, not the corporate sponsors that funded your election campaign. These are the very people you are SUPPOSED to be listening to. You may not see a violation of the Constitution in these programs but you can damned sure bet that your constituents do and THAT is what really matters. It is not about what you think about the programs but rather what THE PEOPLE who elected you think. It is time for you to START DOING YOUR JOB or GTFO.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Ninja (profile), Jul 30th, 2013 @ 11:03am

    The attitude is pretty welcome. Politicians need to hear the people. And for that, Meeks must be praised.

    However it's worrying that he doesn't understand what he made an oath for. It may be an innocent mistake. Or not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    wec, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 11:06am

    If the oath cited above is correct, then there is nothing in the oath saying they are to protect safety the people of the USA. If we go to war the only reason should be that the enemy will destroy the Constitution (ie. that the enemy will defeat the US and replace the Constitutional Republic we now have to whatever form of government they want).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 11:14am


    What they use to claim this is the fact that the Preamble, states that one of the purposes of the Constitution is to "provide for the common defense" and therefore by association "defending and supporting the Constitution" supposedly extends to them the duty of defending the people. It's funny (not really funny, but rather sad) they only seem to really read the parts of the Constitution that are convenient to their argument even if is just in a remotely tangential way.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Lurker Keith, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 11:22am

    avoiding answerable questions ought to be illegal

    Dodging the question of why he voted the way he did should be illegal & immediate grounds for a new election. If he can't justify how he's voting to those he's supposed to represent, he isn't doing his job.

    Also, dodging answering if he thought a specific warrant, known to the public, was Constitutional or not should also be illegal.

    Actually, dodging any questions from a Representatives' (both House & Senate) voters, that can legally be answered (&, in this case, opinions are not Classified), should result in forfeiture of Office & an immediate election that he's barred from participating in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

    What about the rest of the galaxy?

    I hope you Americans sort out the issue with your laws, your congress, and your constitution.

    But either way, as a foreigner your government can still fuck with me as they please. I'd also like some rights, and I don't generally want to bomb you all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 2:08pm

    I can't believe he said his oath is to protect the American People, when in fact, his oath is to support the 'Constitution' of the United States of America.

    I'm sure the Founding Fathers specifically worded the Oath of Office to say Constitution. In order to prevent politicians from twisting words around to mean anything besides 'Constitution'.

    I find Gregory Meeks' incorrect interpretation of what his oath of office means, to equal treason against the Constitution, and the American People that the Constitution protects.

    I'll choose the Constitution's protections over a Politician's protection, EVERY SINGLE TIME!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 3:30pm

    He says he won't vote to end a program without first looking at ways to fix it. Hmm, where was his desire to fix these laws when they were up for renewal and were passed with no discussion?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 3:47pm


    I'm gonna go with Hanlon's razor here. If he was working on behalf of the NSA solely because they were paying him, he probably would've just ignored the activists.

    That said, I sincerely hope Meeks has spent the last few weeks researching exactly what his job entails, as well as the issues at hand, because his knowledge of them as of July 4th was abysmal.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 30th, 2013 @ 6:52pm

    The only problem is, it's the politician's job to uphold the constitution. Who do you think turns the cops and the feds loose?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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