The Lies Mike Rogers Told Congress About The USA Freedom Act

from the almost-none-of-this-is-true dept

One of the most obvious ways that you knew the USA Freedom Act that passed out of the House yesterday was clearly not real NSA reform was the simple fact that the NSA #1 defender in chief, Rep. Mike Rogers, not only voted for it, but spoke strongly in favor of it on the House floor.
In typical Mike Rogers fashion, his statement is quite incredible for its bald faced lies. Let's dig in.
It is commendable that we have found a responsible legislative solution to address concerns about the bulk telephone metadata program so that we may move forward on other national security legislative priorities. Our obligation to protect this country should not be held hostage by the actions of traitors who leak classified information that puts our troops in the field at risk or those who fear-monger and spread mistruth to further their own misguided agenda.
Got that? The only reason that this debate is happening is because Ed Snowden revealed how the NSA was breaking the law. Rep. Sensenbrenner wrote the original USA Freedom Act to make it clear that what the NSA was doing directly violated what he intended the law to be when he wrote the original USA Patriot Act. To argue that revealing the NSA breaking the law makes him a "traitor" is just one of many of Rogers' continued lies and mistruths. But that opening paragraph also makes it clear that Rogers views the USA Freedom Act as a mere nuisance, which needs to be passed to get the privacy groups to shut up -- though, of course they won't.

And, despite all of Rogers' claims, there is still no evidence at all that any of the information "puts our trips in the field at risk." As for "fear-mongering" and "spreading mistruth" that has been the currency of Rogers himself -- in fact, in this very sentence, where he talks about "traitors" and putting the troops at risk.
Following the criminal disclosures of intelligence information last June, the Section 215 telephone metadata program has been the subject of intense, and often inaccurate, criticism. The bulk telephone metadata program is legal, overseen, and effective at saving American lives. All three branches of government oversee this program, including Congress, the FISC, inspectors general, and internal compliance and privacy and civil liberties offices in executive branch agencies.
Actually, that's not even close to true. The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and the internal White House review panel both found that the Section 215 program was not at all effective. The PCLOB directly stated that "Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, "does not provide an adequate basis to support this program." The White House's own review task force equally found that there was no basis for the program. One of the panel members, in discussing the evidence they saw concerning the "effectiveness" of the program stated:
“It was, ‘Huh, hello? What are we doing here?’” said Geoffrey Stone, a University of Chicago law professor, in an interview with NBC News. “The results were very thin.”
Later he's asked about whether the Section 215 program stopped any terrorist attacks, and Stone stated outright: "We found none."

Similarly, when the program was actually tested in court (not one of the FISC rubber stamping proceedings with no adversarial process), Judge Richard Leon similarly noted that the NSA failed to provide any evidence of effectiveness:
The Government could have requested permission to present additional, potentially classified evidence in camera, but it chose not to do so. Although the Government has publicly asserted that the NSA's surveillance programs have prevented fifty-four terrorist attacks, no proof of that has been put before me.
Similarly, Senator Patrick Leahy, who knows just as well as Rogers how the program has been used, has said that there is no evidence the program was effectively used to stop terrorism.

So Rogers appears to be flat out lying here. All of the evidence is against him, but he just can't stop.

He continues with his speech:
Despite the effectiveness of the program, and the immense safeguards on the data, many Americans and many Members of this body still have concerns about a potential for abuse. The legislation we are considering today is designed to address those concerns and reflects hundreds of hours of Member and staff work to negotiate a workable compromise.
Again, everyone has already said the program is not effective. And, furthermore, the legislation does not actually address the concerns. The original legislation addressed some of those concerns, but nearly everything that addressed concerns has been removed. The "hundreds of hours" was time Rogers' staff spent trying to strip the bill of any real meaning.
The USA Freedom Act provides the meaningful change to the telephone metadata program that Members of the House have been seeking.
Except it doesn't. Even the author of the bill, Jim Sensenbrenner has admitted that it does not do that.

And, finally, Rogers tops it all off with an insult for the President -- from the very same White House that actually demanded the House water down the bill to make it this useless.
If we had the fortune of having a Commander in Chief firmly dedicated to the preservation of this program as is, we may have been able to protect it in its entirety. With that not being the case, I believe this is a workable compromise that protects the core function of a counterterrorism program we know has saved lives around the world.
Sure, perhaps he's playing to his base with the Obama snub, but just the fact that he notes that this bill "protects the core function" of the bulk spying program, shows what the USA Freedom bill is really about.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 10:10am

    There it is ladies and Gentlmen!

    Corruption has a face... not the only face mind you, but one none the less.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 10:23am

    Rep. Mike Rogers is a morally bankrupt scumbag who belongs in a prison cell for the rest of his natural life.

    If we were ever to get lucky enough to witness this man being escorted off to prison in chains, I firmly believe this speech of his would be the substance of his final words to us. And, I'm not sure which is more sad; either that he would insist on saying such outright lies even in the face of finding himself in a hole for the rest of his life or for the fact that he likely believes every word he says.

    It is simply amazing the level of contempt these jokers have for the American people.

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 10:29am

    Government agency actions found to be breaking the law. Change the law. Government agency actions are now legal.

    These folks are problem solvers of the highest order.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 23rd, 2014 @ 10:34am

    Re:

    "Rep. Mike Rogers is a morally bankrupt scumbag who belongs in a prison cell for the rest of his natural life."

    I wish I could argue against this sentiment. But I can't.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    stryx, May 23rd, 2014 @ 10:37am

    Quote

    "Despite the effectiveness of the program, and the immense safeguards on the data,"

    means

    We can gather anything and everything and there's no way we'll let you know what's being done with it

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    mcinsand, May 23rd, 2014 @ 10:39am

    And the winner is...

    2014's winner for the John Steele award for dishonesty and lack of integrity goes to... Mike Rogers!

     

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

  7.  
    icon
    Jeff (profile), May 23rd, 2014 @ 10:48am

    huh?

    "Our obligation to protect this country "
    What about his oath to defend the constitution?

     

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

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 10:58am

    "immense safeguards on the data"
    Safeguards so immense the NSA has no clue as to exactly which or how many documents Snowden was able to get.

    Let's hope Michigan does the right thing at the next election.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 10:58am

    When he starts his radio show gig...

    Man, is he going to get trolled. Stock up on popcorn everyone.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    me, May 23rd, 2014 @ 11:01am

    Good. Because we need our trips uninterrupted.

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 11:01am

    Re:

    He's not running again. He's going to become a talk radio host. (Like we need another conservative spin doctor on the radio.)

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 11:03am

    Re: Re:

    I just wish it would happen.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 11:29am

    Spend the $$ in a more productive way.

    It does not pay to try to do things in a legislative way.

    All funds should be getting spent toward training our kids to use weapons properly.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 11:56am

    Lives saved, huh...

    What about all the lives ruined/terminated by the illegal actions of the government employees involved, looking both at the formally authorized illegal activity like tipping other law enforcement agencies based on unlawfully intercepted information and the unauthorized illegal activity (LOVEINT, etc.)?

     

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

  15.  
    icon
    E. Zachary Knight (profile), May 23rd, 2014 @ 12:47pm

    The Really Good Villains...

    The best villains in any media are the ones that truly believe that what they are doing is the right thing and the best thing to be done. They do not consider themselves evil, but as agents of good doing the work needed to make the world a better place.

    Rep Mike Rogers fits the bill exactly.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 1:25pm

    Oh the irony

    "Our obligation to protect this country should not be held hostage by the actions of traitors... who fear-monger and spread mistruth to further their own misguided agenda."

    Hey Rogers, look in the mirror.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 5:07pm

    Misrepresentative Mike Rogers, doesn't let facts get in the way of constantly spreading his messages of lies and fear mongering.

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    OrganizedThoughtCrime (profile), May 23rd, 2014 @ 11:36pm

    Re:

    You're giving them WAY too much credit.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2014 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Spend the $$ in a more productive way.

    That should be happening regardless, and with adults as well. One need not like firearms to understand how to handle one safely in any given situation.

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    OrganizedThoughtCrime (profile), May 23rd, 2014 @ 11:43pm

    Re: Oh the irony

    I saw that exactly the same way.

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), May 24th, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Spend the $$ in a more productive way.

    Even kids who never come anywhere near a gun? My daughter is an adult now, but has never touched a gun, and the only gun I ever touched was a pellet gun one time when I was 12. With two exception, none of my friends have had any exposure to guns at all. Not saying that gun safety classes are a bad thing, but that they aren't necessarily the best use of money everywhere.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, May 24th, 2014 @ 7:58pm

    Mike Rogers is a liar. Congress is composed of liars. They deserve each other.

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, May 24th, 2014 @ 8:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Spend the $$ in a more productive way.

    Sounds like a bunch of wussies to me.

     

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

  24.  
    icon
    Xploding_Cobra (profile), May 27th, 2014 @ 1:50pm

    Yeah, I'm late to the party - blame the holidays and my seriously mistaken belief that I could still drink like I did when I was in the Army.

    In any case, Mike Rogers makes me ashamed to have to admit that I live in Michigan. I married into a rather large family and out of the more than four dozen (seriously - lapsed Catholics) in laws, precisely ONE supports Rogers. I also know of absolutely nobody that thinks that the collection of phone data is a good idea - and that includes a hell of a lot of people I served in the Army with - who you'd expect to follow the Republican line a bit more closely.

    While I doubt that any real reform is going to come along in the short term, in the long run I predict that there will be more and more court cases that point out the fact that the Government is lying their asses off in regard to the issues re: terrorism safety and whatnot. I can only hope that public opinion will continue to grow until an actual majority can elect the people that need to be there to change things.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, May 30th, 2014 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Spend the $$ in a more productive way.

    If you need a gun to feel like a big man, are you compensating for something?

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, May 31st, 2014 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Spend the $$ in a more productive way.

    Who said anything about needing a gun to feel like a big man, other than you?

     

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


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