Senator Leahy: If President Obama Is Serious About Ending Bulk Collection, He Can Just End It This Friday

from the easy-peasy dept

As expected, President Obama outlined basic plans for ending bulk collection of phone records. While the actual details of the plan still haven't been revealed, apparently, the administration has some "enabling legislation" ready to go, which it hopes Congress will pass "quickly." In response to this, Senator Patrick Leahy pointed out that while he's very supportive of the move to end bulk collection of phone records, there's a much easier way to accomplish that. The authority to do so technically runs out on Friday of this week, so if the President wants to end the program, he can just not seek to renew the authority:
I look forward to having meaningful consultation with the administration on these matters and reviewing its proposal to evaluate whether it sufficiently protects Americans’ privacy. In the meantime, the President could end bulk collection once and for all on Friday by not seeking reauthorization of this program. Rather than postponing action any longer, I hope he chooses this path.
Anyone setting odds on the likelihood of this actually happening?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 25th, 2014 @ 11:39am

    I'm not holding my breath. Actually I'd bet he's gonna try to renew it under the pretense the programs need to be scaled back cautiously to avoid leaving the intelligence in the dark or something (regardless of the fact that targeted programs can keep rolling).

     

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  2.  
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    AjStechd (profile), Mar 25th, 2014 @ 11:46am

    Alphabet agencies will fight tooth and nail to keep data collection going strong. They've consistently lied about almost every aspect of these programs and you can bet are busy working out ways to circumvent any upcoming restrictions. Lets face it, this is just theater to quiet and reassure the public. People also need to realize that the president doesn't have as much power as they think.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 11:50am

    Hoping for change

    While one might have had hope for change at one time, the change that the bill will not be renewed is a hopeless one.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 11:52am

    Obama's just acting like he's serious about NSA reform while supports it fully. He knows there's a high chance Congress won't pass anything and he can say "welp, I tried..."

     

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  5.  
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    MondoGordo (profile), Mar 25th, 2014 @ 11:54am

    It's an 80's movie ...

    "Less Than Zero"

     

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  6.  
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    kenichi tanaka (profile), Mar 25th, 2014 @ 12:01pm

    If this gets approved by Congress and Obama signs it into law, it only says one thing: that President Obama and the Democratic Party have come to the realization that the NSA and their bulk data collection of every American has indeed become detrimental to the re-election chances of Democrats for the U.S. Congress.

    At any rate, it doesn't matter what Obama does. While the November elections are not set in stone as to who will win, Democrats are not going to prevail in November because of everything that has happened since Snowden revealed the hypocracy of the Obama Administration.

    The NSA spying has caused irreparable harm to Democrats. But, if this had happened under under the Republican's watch, then it would be the Republicans paying the price.

    It's just ironic that Democrats, who have long fought for constitutional rights and lessening government intrusion into our lives IS the very same party who has been raping our constitutional rights when it comes to privacy.

    I suppose the motto of the Obama Administration is "do as we say and NOT as we do".

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 12:05pm

    Re:

    What's ironic is that the republicans havn't done more with how much they cry about violation of amendments. Oh they cried and cried about how nationalized health care is unconstitutional and that obama should be impeached.

    Here we have pretty clear reasons to try to impeach the guy and what do republicans do? Stick their thumbs firmly up their asses.

    Republicans, democrats, blacks, whites, it doesn't matter one iota. The government is a corrupt self serving shit show. Probably has been since day 1, we can just diagnose the disease easier now.

     

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  8.  
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    mr. sim (profile), Mar 25th, 2014 @ 12:07pm

    the Republican started the programs, the democrats just got unlucky that it was revealed that these programs existed during the administration of a democratic president.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 12:19pm

    even if obama would do so (which I rate around 0%), does it matter?

    Unless the infrastructure to collect the data is dismantled, they will continue to collect, damn the laws.

    you can't just ban them from doing so, you have to attack their ability to do so, otherwise nothing is won.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 12:26pm

    he can just not seek to renew the authority:

    Presumably congress could refuse to renew the authority, but I suspect the will is not there in the president or congress. If I was a conspiracy theorist I would even claim the spy agencies have enough blackmail material to protect the program.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 12:42pm

    Response to: mr. sim on Mar 25th, 2014 @ 12:07pm

    Dem congress started them actually.

     

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  12.  
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    David, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 12:56pm

    Not renew the authority?

    That's a nice president you have there, U.S.A. It would be a real shame if anything happened to him.

    If JFK had not foolishly made it harder for the CIA to protect everybody, he might still be alive.

     

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  13.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Mar 25th, 2014 @ 1:00pm

    Re:

    At this point it's not really tin-foil hat territory, as the various spy agencies have shown that they are willing to do pretty much anything to protect their precious programs.

    For example, from an earlier article:

    I salute Sen. Feinstein, Pelosi said at her weekly news conference of the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Ill tell you, you take on the intelligence community, youre a person of courage, and she does not do that lightly. Not without evidence, and when I say evidence, documentation of what it is that she is putting forth.

    Pelosi added that she has always fought for checks and balances on CIA activity and its interactions with Congress: You dont fight it without a price because they come after you and they dont always tell the truth."


    Source:
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140317/07441526589/nancy-pelosi-admits-that-congress-is-sc ared-cia.shtml

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 1:00pm

    I'm waiting for the Terror threat that usually happens prior to anything possibly being rolled back. I think he'll keep it going ,I don't have faith that the Corporation I mean Government will do anything that protects everyday Citizens rights.
    Since the Reagan era our nations government has turned into a corporation treating it's citizens like the lowest paid workers, so think to yourself ,what would walmart do.

     

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  15.  
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    jo (profile), Mar 25th, 2014 @ 1:27pm

    Re:

    Yep, one false flag coming up.

    The chance of either house doing anything other than hiding it better is 0.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 1:50pm

    To be fair

    If he ended the bulk phone collection immediately by executive order it would probably mean firing a whole bunch of people, as their jobs would no longer exist. Maybe he's worried about the effect that eliminating an entire federal department would have on the economy and the job growth index? Given that the federal government is better at adding jobs than American private employers...

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 1:57pm

    Re:

    "so think to yourself ,what would walmart do"

    Walmart has a rollback campaign, so that can't right.

    Maybe you meant Target, because that's what we are AND they recently also had security breaches (their precious data went walkies).

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re:

    LOL,nice

    But walmart employees are not happy campers.but we can say walmart/target

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 2:57pm

    Obama supports this spying 100%. A complete 180 about face from what Senator Obama opposed. Now what could cause that?

    Senator Obama claimed to have wanted to run the most transparent administration in history. His deeds in that are precisely 180 from those claims with a recent news article claiming this administration was the most secretive he'd ever encountered. Now what would cause that?

    President Obama has used the 1917 Espionage Law to prosecute more whistle blowers than all the rest of the presidents of history totaled together. Now what would cause that?

    President Obama will not end the spying on his own. His reaction to the NSA investigation committee tells you he won't. His changes he proposed were next to nothing in actual preventive and stopping such data gathering practices. The fact that he wants legislation from congress tells me one thing. He wants a bill proposed that some other congress critter and slip in changes that make it all legal or change the intention of some of that bill. Otherwise he could as do as Senator Leahy suggests and just not seek renewal.

    You can bet the renewal will happen. There are too many co-incidences that leave you with the suspicion that Obama has something to hide he's worried about becoming public.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 3:36pm

    odds

    odds- about the same as monkeys flying out my butt singing the star spangled banner.

    Unless the gesture is somehow meaningless by some other secret standard or double speak loophole.

    They probably need time to write the "don't rape the constitution act", which will remove it's pants and lube it up, while also coining a new class of 'enhanced legal probing techniques' and redefining rape as anything that disturbs the powerful.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 3:47pm

    "Anyone setting odds on the likelihood of this actually happening?"

    Never gonna happen. Obama's going to proclaim that he wants to end bulk collection, turn right around and renew the bulk collection, then turn around again and claim that he's doing everything in his power to end bulk collection.

    Can't have 1984 mass surveillance without 1984 doublethink, now can we?

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 3:48pm

    Re: To be fair

    Given that the federal government is better at adding jobs than American private employers..

    Federal, and state jobs are parasitic on private companies, as the create no wealth and only consume tax. Some are valuable to a society, and some are a pure drain on society...

     

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

  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 4:56pm

    Re:

    I wonder if Nate Silver will end up causing the bulk collection to expire. His projections showed that they'd lose their majority and it provoked the expected reactions of denial and "oh shit".

     

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

  24.  
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    Archillies, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 5:57pm

    Re: To be fair

    No federal jobs will be lost, contracts will simply not be renewed. Contractors will move to new contracts.

     

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

  25.  
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    FM Hilton, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 6:37pm

    Let's not get serious here

    The odds of it happening?

    Zero to zilch.

    Standard phrase:

    "But the terrorists! They'll win unless we don't continue it!"

    Yeah, like the entire US is made up of one particular section of society.

    We're the enemy, don't you know?

    We're protecting ourselves from ourselves!

     

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  26.  
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    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Mar 25th, 2014 @ 6:40pm

    Sorry, Senator

    Sorry, Senator, but I don't agree. The President might be able to if the NSA follows orders and doesn't lie to him about what they're acctually doing. But everything we've seen suggests exactly the opposite.

     

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

  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 25th, 2014 @ 7:04pm

    "Senator Leahy: If President Obama Is Serious About Ending Bulk Collection, He Can Just End It This Friday"

    No kidding? Fake independent Leahy can beat him and defund criminal NSA activity on Thursday. And hold Clapper in contempt of Congress (federal crime) on Wednesday.

     

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

  28.  
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    DerekCurrie (profile), Mar 25th, 2014 @ 11:10pm

    There Is No Law Authorizing Breaking The Fourth Amendment

    The end of this is simple:
    Stop breaking the Fourth Amendment President Obama and Congress.

    But no, we have to be LIED to, over and over from various perspectives as if all of the mass surveillance of US citizens on US soil was ever legal. No it wasn't. Not ever. There is no law authorizing it, not a single one. Deceit rules and apparently we're too stupid to recognize that everything coming out of the politician's mouths is either ignorant and deliberately wrong.

    The simple cure: Read the US Constitution and follow it. The politicians have all sworn to protect and defend the US Constitution. So do your job and cut the corruption. The Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution could not be more simple and obvious:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    There are no excuses for breaking the Fourth Amendment, ever. How about we impeach all the treasonous liars? That's the American thing to do.

     

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

  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2014 @ 1:54am

    Re: Re: To be fair

    so make them actually work for their money, by, say, paving over the main NSA buildings. The risks, at present, far outweigh any possible benefits thatt he NSA give.

     

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  30.  
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    David, Mar 26th, 2014 @ 3:22am

    Re:

    Ah, but all of that would mean that Snowden has won (and along with him the U.S. constitution and the American public) and we can't have that.

     

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

  31.  
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    David, Mar 26th, 2014 @ 3:28am

    Re: There Is No Law Authorizing Breaking The Fourth Amendment

    There are no excuses for breaking the Fourth Amendment, ever. How about we impeach all the treasonous liars? That's the American thing to do.

    It would mean Snowden has won, and we can't have that. And where are you going to find replacements for all those high-ranking officials? The White House could get vandalized if abandoned.

     

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

  32.  
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    Pragmatic, Mar 26th, 2014 @ 4:25am

    Re:

    That's what comes of trying to run a country like a business.

     

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

  33.  
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    Pragmatic, Mar 26th, 2014 @ 4:29am

    Re: Re: To be fair

    Private MISC* companies are parasitic on Federal and state jobs as they create no wealth and only consume tax. Some are valuable to a society, and some are a pure drain on society...

    FIFY. Remember, much of the surveillance work was lobbied for by private companies via people like Feinstein and is run on their equipment.



    *Military-industrial-surveillance complex

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2014 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Re: To be fair

    Parasitic or not (and I generally agree that most surveillance outside of direct military targets, like say Sigint on Russian troop movements are pretty useless) they're still jobs, and thus employed consumers.

    Sadly America's economy right now hinges completely on consumption and parasitism as opposed to actual useful labor. The goal of the US government in helping the economy right now is to make as many people as capable of consuming as many resources as possible.

    Sadly by US gov logic BS parasitic jobs are not just necessary, but ideal. Consumption without production, without services provided, and with years of training tied up in it? job source gold!

    And that is why the US government, and other governments with similar ideologies, are starting surveillance states. Orwell was wrong. We don't spy on our people to control them. We wound up doing it just so we had idle makework that was more advanced than digging ditches and refilling them

     

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

  35.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 26th, 2014 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re:

    "cried about how nationalized health care is unconstitutional and that obama should be impeached"

    Which is extra silly, considering that Obamacare is emphatically not nationalized health care. That exact fact is one of the main reasons I oppose it.

     

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

  36.  
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    btrussell (profile), Mar 26th, 2014 @ 5:59pm

    "Anyone setting odds on the likelihood of this actually happening?"

    I'd set odds but I would be called cynical for not believing in hope and change.

     

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


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