How Congress Secretly Just Legitimized Questionable NSA Mass Surveillance Tool

from the just-slipped-it-right-in dept

We recently noted that, despite it passing overwhelmingly, Congress quietly deleted a key bit of NSA reform that would have blocked the agency from using backdoors for surveillance. But this week something even more nefarious happened, and it likely would have gone almost entirely unnoticed if Rep. Justin Amash's staffers hadn't caught the details of a new provision quietly slipped into the Intelligence Authorization Act, which effectively "legitimized" the way the NSA conducts most of its mass surveillance.

For a while now, we've discussed executive order 12333, signed by President Ronald Reagan, which more or less gives the NSA unchecked authority to tap into any computer system not in the US. Over the summer, a former State Department official, John Napier Tye, basically blew the whistle on 12333 by noting that everyone focused on other NSA programs were missing the point. The NSA's surveillance is almost entirely done under this authority, which has no Congressional oversight. All those other programs we've been arguing about -- Section 215 of the Patriot Act or Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act -- are really nothing more than ways to backfill the data the NSA has been unable to access under 12333. In other words, these other programs are the distraction. 12333 is the ballgame, and it has no Congressional oversight at all. It's just a Presidential executive order.

Yet, what Amash and his staffers found is that a last minute change by the Senate Intelligence Committee to the bill effectively incorporated key parts of EO 12333 into law, allowing for "the acquisition, retention, and dissemination" of "nonpublic communications." Here's where those who slipped this bit into the law got sneaky. Recognizing that they might be called on it, they put it in with language noting that such information could only be held on to for five years -- and then claimed what they were really doing was putting a limit on data already collected:
Backers of the section argue it would actually limit to five years the amount of time communications data could be kept at intelligence agencies, certain exceptions permitting. But it is generally acknowledged that such data is already rarely kept beyond five years, which Amash characterized as a trade-off that "provides a novel statutory basis for the executive branch's capture and use of Americans' private communications."

"The provisions in the intel authorization appear to be an attempt by Congress to place statutory restrictions on the retention of information collected under Executive Order 12333, which is not subject to court oversight, has not been authorized by Congress, and raises serious privacy concerns," said Neema Guliani, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union. "However, these restrictions are far from adequate, contain enormous loopholes, and notably completely exclude the information of non-U.S. persons."
This seems particularly nefarious. In trying to claim that they're putting a limit on this activity (that's already happening) they can claim that they're not really expanding the power of the NSA and the surveillance state. But, by putting it in law, rather than just having it in an executive order, they're effectively legitimatizing the practice, and making it much harder to roll back.

And they did it all quietly without any debate.

That's massively troubling. Inserting such a major power into the law at the very least deserves (and should require) a full and fair public debate about the issue and whether or not it is truly needed. Doing it in secret, at the last minute, with no public acknowledgement or discussion, and then pretending it's about "limits" rather than legitimizing what's in EO 12333 is really, really nefarious.

Unfortunately, even with Rep. Amash raising the alarm about it, the bill easily passed 325 to 100, without most in Congress probably having any idea about this issue and what it meant. Rep. Zoe Lofgren claimed that if Congress fully understood the provision, it almost certainly wouldn't have passed:
"If this hadn't been snuck in, I doubt it would have passed," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat who voted against the bill. "A lot of members were not even aware that this new provision had been inserted last-minute. Had we been given an additional day, we may have stopped it."
This is the kind of crap that the intelligence community keeps pulling, and it's why there's so much that's troubling in the way they play the legislative game. Not only do they write the legislative language in sneaky ways that they can carefully interpret themselves -- they then get "friends" in Congress to quietly insert the language when no one's looking. By putting it in bills that have to pass, these things get put into the law and aren't at all easy to remove.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2014 @ 7:51pm

    How to not win back public trust 101.

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  • identicon
    anomynous, 12 Dec 2014 @ 7:58pm

    This is getting ridiculous.

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  • identicon
    Justme, 12 Dec 2014 @ 8:07pm

    Any idea who inserted the new provision?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2014 @ 10:43pm

      Re:

      I'm told it was Dianne Feinstein.

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

      • identicon
        David, 13 Dec 2014 @ 1:29am

        Re: Re:

        NSA's and the weapon industry's darling again. Sigh.

        It's nice that she pushed the torture report out, but then torture does not require the kind of stuff her husband sells, and the CIA pissed her off by hacking her computers.

        She screws the public over 9 times out of 10. Better than the 10/10 rate of many other representatives, but still exasperating.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2014 @ 3:10am

      Re:

      Dianne Feinstein I think. While Feinstein has been against the CIA and its torture, she's always been very pro-NSA.

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      • identicon
        Hans, 13 Dec 2014 @ 12:24pm

        Feinstein amendment to H.R.4681

        I'm new to this, but poking around Congress' site, I found what I think are the ammendments to the bill. All the amendments, except for Feinstein's, seem to have text associated with them while her's is "Amendment text within the Congressional Record has not been linked." The other amendments also have a reasonable description/purpose, while hers is "In the nature of a substitute".

        Still looking for more information.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Dec 2014 @ 9:19am

          It was Feinstein

          "All the amendments, except for Feinstein's, seem to have text associated with them while her's is "Amendment text within the Congressional Record has not been linked."

          No text or description. ...nope, nothing shady going on here. o_0

          And yes, confirmed it was the delightful - nothing-worse-than-torture-except-the-4th-Amendment - Feinstein that provided the amendment.

          S.AMDT.3995
          Amends: H.R.4681
          Sponsor: Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] (submitted 12/9/2014) (proposed 12/9/2014)

          Here's the details of the underhanded last minute amendment here - which links to the entire H.R.4681 S.Amdt.3995 text of betrayal here - which links to the pertinent bit of treachery (a.k.a, Section 309) here.

          Dark times in America.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 10:26am

            Re: It was Feinstein

            It looks like the last link above has "timed out". So, for posterity...

            If you want to get to the pertinent part of Feinstein's amendment, you can take the long way by following these steps.

            1. Google H.R.4681 S.AMDT.3995
            2. Click any Library of Congress related link with domain like "thomas.loc.gov..." or "hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation..." etc.
            3. You should end up on page with a header like:

            Bill Summary & Status
            113th Congress (2013 - 2014)
            S.AMDT.3995

            ...then click the link on that page that occurs at:

            "TEXT OF AMENDMENT AS SUBMITTED: CR S6457-6462"

            ...on the page that renders, find the link:

            "Page: S6458"

            ...on the page that renders go near the bottom where you will find the offending Section 309 (relevant portion posted below):

            SEC. 309. PROCEDURES FOR THE RETENTION OF INCIDENTALLY ACQUIRED COMMUNICATIONS.

            [...]

            (3) PROCEDURES.--

            (A) APPLICATION.--The procedures required by paragraph (1) shall apply to any intelligence collection activity not otherwise authorized by court order (including an order or certification issued by a court established under subsection (a) or (b) of section 103 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1803)), subpoena, or similar legal process that is reasonably anticipated to result in the acquisition of a covered communication to or from a United States person and shall permit the acquisition, retention, and dissemination of covered communications subject to the limitation in subparagraph (B).

            (B) LIMITATION ON RETENTION.--A covered communication shall not be retained in excess of 5 years, unless--

            (i) the communication has been affirmatively determined, in whole or in part, to constitute foreign intelligence or counterintelligence or is necessary to understand or assess foreign intelligence or counterintelligence;

            (ii) the communication is reasonably believed to constitute evidence of a crime and is retained by a law enforcement agency;

            (iii) the communication is enciphered or reasonably believed to have a secret meaning;

            (iv) all parties to the communication are reasonably believed to be non-United States persons;

            (v) retention is necessary to protect against an imminent threat to human life, in which case both the nature of the threat and the information to be retained shall be reported to the congressional intelligence committees not later than 30 days after the date such retention is extended under this clause;

            (vi) retention is necessary for technical assurance or compliance purposes, including a court order or discovery obligation, in which case access to information retained for technical assurance or compliance purposes shall

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  • icon
    Peter (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 8:10pm

    Here is what I said about it as "ideasware" on Reddit. It's frightening, and no one seems to think it matters. It dies indeed matter, very much -- but too few people, apparently care.

    "Well, aside from the grandstanding, which is thick today, it plainly says exactly what Justin Amash says: virtually unlimited access for five long years to the NSA, under an simple executive order. No courts need to approve it, and every American can have his metadata examined. This is a criminal activity, but apparently the NSA is going to get it's way. Amazing."

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2014 @ 8:18pm

    Simple Solution

    All amendments must be made public and displayed on the congress website for 24 hours before it is allowed to be voted on. We are in the 21st Century. Our laws should be open, easy to understand and voted upon directly when it impacts attempts to remove some of our inalienable rights.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 11:03pm

      Re: Simple Solution

      Set a timer. Any proposed amendments to a bill adds 24 hours to the clock, which must be used by the supporters and creators of an amendment to debate and defend it's proposed addition to a bill. Once a bill reaches a certain point to voting, say 48 hours, no further changes to it may be made.

      Alternatively(or perhaps additionally), categorize and unbundle. Bills dealing with agriculture can only include laws dealing with agriculture, bills dealing with digital security can only include laws dealing with digital security, and so on. No more slipping an amendment dealing with 'national security' into a completely unrelated bill.

      Any amendments found to violate this rule, even if the bill has already been passed, would be immediately struck from the bill, and made retroactively null and void(this is to keep them from sneaking something in, doing whatever it 'authorizes' until they get caught, and then claiming it was legal at the time).

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2014 @ 11:01am

      Re: Simple Solution

      Refreshing to hear some common sense after reading this

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Dec 2014 @ 7:40pm

      Re: Simple Solution

      All amendments must be made public and displayed on the congress website for 24 hours before it is allowed to be voted on.
      The House Republican leadership pledged to have bills online for 3 days before a vote (main bill, not the amendments, but similar principle). They have variously posted bills at 11:00pm on day 1 and called it "3 days" at the start of day 4 (which is properly 2.3 days, not 3.0 days). On some bills, they have just flat out ignored their own pledge and brought the bill up for vote before even the twisted definition of 3 days is satisfied.

      A simple delay like this is only helpful if the delay is long enough to get a large number of voters to call in to complain. You could put bills on a month-long hold and it wouldn't help if (1) Congress has no interest in what the voters say on an issue or (2) too few voters care enough to call in. Having a hold is better than having no hold, but don't confuse having the opportunity to make unhappy phone calls with the ability to prevent bad legislation from passing. Crippling the ability to pass and enforce a bad law is far more useful than throwing a bit of transparency on an institution where transparency alone does not inhibit misconduct.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 9:58am

      Re: Simple Solution

      "All amendments must be made public and displayed on the congress website for 24 hours before it is allowed to be voted on."

      Which sounds fine and good, except that the odds that we can properly and completely understand what the words in the bill actually mean are slim to none. You have to be a lawyer to have a chance, and not just a normal lawyer either. You need to be a specialist.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2014 @ 8:28pm

    Brave New World

    The question now is not whether we have crossed the Rubicon, but how long ago it happened.

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 8:50pm

    So when are we going to force Congress to do everything on book, in the open so we can collect it for ourselves to review?
    They watch us to stop terrorism, shouldn't we be allowed to watch them to make sure that none of them get compromised? Imagine the horrible things that could happen if a well financed terror group were able to purchase the assistance of these public servants to bring even more terror to our shores.

    Imagine how horrible it would be if for small sums of money we could all be made less safe, less secure,... oh fuck... it already happened.

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    • icon
      Cal (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 7:29am

      Re:

      "So when are we going to force Congress to do everything on book..."

      When you know that the US Constitution assigned the duty of enforcing it, and the Constitution of each state to us. When you go and train so that you are a part of, and the defender of, yourself, your family, your neighborhood, your city/county/state, and of our nation.

      We are the ones assigned the duty of enforcement, no one else. Preamble to the US Constitution:

      "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

      The Preamble to the US Constitution says who is responsible for doing certain things within our nation. Those things are to be done to “form a more perfect Union”. It is NOT the law enforcement - federal or state because those agencies were forbidden to those in government to create BECAUSE they are ALWAYS used against the people sooner or later. The US President was to use the Militia of the several states when he needed them, or if attacked to hold off the enemy while a military is formed - usually from those in the Militia.

      Those duties were NOT assigned to the senate, the congress, those who serve in the judicial and executive branches. Nor were those duties assigned to those who serve within state governments.

      “We the People of the United States” are to:
      - “establish Justice”
      - “insure domestic Tranquility”
      - “provide for the common defence”
      - “promote the general Welfare”
      - “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”

      “We the People of the United States” are to do that by using those who serve within our federal government to carry out the constitutionally assigned duties for each branch within our federal government and our state governments. When they run "amok" and become domestic enemies of the USA, or even traitors, then we are to remove, prosecute, and punish them for their crimes.

      The Constitution assigned “We the People of the United States” to “establish Justice”, “provide for the common defence”, plus to “promote the general Welfare” and most importantly to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity” - no one else.

      Thomas Jefferson: “Freedom is lost gradually from an uninterested, uninformed, and uninvolved people.”

      Thomas Jefferson: “The government created by this compact (the Constitution) was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party (the people of each state) has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.”

      Alexander Hamilton, concerning the supremacy clause, Federalist 33: “It will not, I presume, have escaped observation that it expressly confines the supremacy to laws made pursuant to the Constitution.”

      Alexander Hamilton: “There is no position which depends on clearer principles that that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.”

      As most here know that is "contrary to the commission under which it is exercised" and it is "void", not valid. Can it, and will it be enforced? Sure, all manner of "laws" today are being enforced by those ignorant of our legitimate government or deliberately to destroy us and the US Constitution from the inside.

      Enforcement of unlawful "laws" created as "color of law" (pretend law created by someone occupying a position where it may be assumed they have that "authority", but they were never given that power) is *terrorism under our laws.

      *28 C.F.R. Section 0.85 Terrorism is defined as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

      "It is the nature of a right that it is – and must be – absolute. If there are codicils, appendices, restrictions, however, and buts, then it is a privilege, granted and controlled by others." Unknown

      George Washington: "A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined; to which end a uniform and well-digested plan is requisite; and their safety and interest require that they should promote such manufactories as tend to render them independent of others for essential, particularly military, supplies."

      US Constitution, Article I, Section. 8, Clause 15: “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel invasions."

      Clause 16: “To provide for organizing, ARMING, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress”.

      Yeah, those weapons of war going to the law enforcement and to foreign nations and foreign terrorists are LAWFULLY to go to the Militias to train with and use IF ever needed. Giving it to the law enforcement and to foreign nations and foreign terrorists are crimes AGAINST our nation and the American people, treason. When they are used against us it IS terrorism.

      Each state's Militia is made up of “We the People” protecting our own interests, homes, states, nation, and enforcing our governments. The Militia has as its constitutionally assigned duties to:

      Enforce the US Constitution and each state's Constitution,
      Enforce and keep the “Laws of the Union” (which is constitutional laws ONLY),
      Protect the country against all enemies both domestic and foreign, and
      “to suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”.

      The US Constitution guarantees to each state its own “Republican form of government”. It is every state's Militia that is the ONLY Constitutionally assigned force to “counter Invasions” and “Domestic Violence” within our nation.

      Go find your nearest constitutional sheriff (cspoa.org has a list), volunteer to train. Go to oathkeepers.org and learn who to contact to join their Community Preparedness Teams, all training is free and you are NOT required to be a member. Plus go to tenthamendmentcenter.com and learn how to nullify things in your state and other things you can do.

      What happens IS up to you, and me, and him, and her....

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 15 Dec 2014 @ 1:12pm

        Re: Re:

        "Go to oathkeepers.org"

        I really, really,, really wish that they had a different name, though. "Oathkeepers" sounds way too much like organizations that I wouldn't willingly get anywhere near. It sounds like a religious and/or gun rights group, and the tone of their website doesn't go very far to take away from that impression.

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  • icon
    tqk (profile), 12 Dec 2014 @ 8:51pm

    Yarf, yarf, yarf, ...

    Any chance Congress is going to grow tired of being used like a bunch of trained seals? Why are your elected reps putting up with this crap? I expect this from the Soviet Politburo, or a '50s-ish South American dictatorship, not the USA.
    From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an "Iron Curtain" has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia; all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.

    Now, it's the USA. Been nice knowin' ya.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2014 @ 9:38pm

      Re: Yarf, yarf, yarf, ...

      They won't get tired of it. If anything, they'd throw out those who aren't corporate totalitarian yes-men.

      It's also potentially worse than those examples because at least the bullshit the Soviets and South Americans pulled stayed inside their borders, not to mention they weren't as technologically advanced.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2014 @ 9:47pm

    All this time the 3 letter agencies have been lying about how legal things were. Since they have been caught with their hands in the cookie jar and made to really look bad, this is the effort to legitimize all the lies and to do the end run around the consistution.

    It has yet to stand the test of court. Just like with Prenda, the government has been given wide latitude to play legal games but now that the public is aware, judges are going to close this gap, I believe.

    Just like what the Pentagon Papers brought to the front, so has Snowden revealed where the skeletons are. No matter how much they wish that they are closing the barn door after the livestock has left. In the long haul, it isn't going to work and the public has been made aware of just how bad this country has went in the direction of other countries the US has claimed to be countries that had human rights issues. Now it is sitting at their own doorstep just how they have subverted the laws of the land.

    I have every faith this will not stand over time. The day of reckoning is coming. The longer it is before it arrives the worse it will be.

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    • icon
      Cal (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 8:08am

      Re:

      "It has yet to stand the test of court. Just like with Prenda, the government has been given wide latitude to play legal games but now that the public is aware, judges are going to close this gap, I believe."

      Judges were given the authority to determine if they are "In Pursuance thereof" the US Constitution. They are NOT given the authority to interpret it as that was already done within the Federalist Papers, within the writings of the time, dictionaries of the time, notes in the state conventions going on at that time, newspapers, etc. they gave themselves the "power" to interpret the US Constitution, which is a usurpation of powers, a crime.

      "I have every faith this will not stand over time." It does not have to "stand over time", as that decision is up to us, "We the People...", no one else.

      You were shown in Ferguson, at the Bundy's ranch in Nevada, today in the state of Washington how "We the People" are to conduct ourselves constitutionally and say "no, this is NOT lawful here and we will not allow it to be enforced by domestic enemies or traitors to the USA".

      It is our choice, it has always been OUR choice under the US Constitution what crimes we ALLOW those who are REQUIRED to represent us and "support and defend" the US Constitution get away with. It has always been up to us what goes on within our nation.

      Tench Coxe: “Who are the militia? are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American…The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”
      “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which must be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms”.

      Richard Henry Lee: “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …”

      George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment: “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

      Patrick Henry: “If you have given up your militia, and Congress shall refuse to arm them, you have lost every thing. Your existence will be precarious, because you depend on others, whose interests are not affected by your infelicity.”

      Hamilton said there exists a right of self-defense against a tyrannical government, and it includes the people with their own arms: “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government… if the persons intrusted with supreme power become usurpers… The citizens must rush tumultuously to arms, without concert, without system, without resource; except in their courage and despair… The people, without exaggeration, may be said to be entirely the masters of their own fate… If their rights are invaded… How wise will it be in them by cherishing the union to preserve to themselves an advantage which can never be too highly prized! (being armed)“

      James Madison said that: “… large and permanent military establishments … are forbidden by the principles of free government, and against the necessity of which the militia were meant to be a constitutional bulwark.”

      John Adams said: “There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty.”

      Joel Barlow, Revolutionary War veteran and American whose political writings were debated on the floor of Parliament said of the US Constitution: “… not only permitting every man to arm, but obliging him to arm.”

      Patrick Henry: “The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”

      Thomas Jefferson: “…To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions is a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps… The Constitution has erected no such tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruption of time and party, its members would become despots….”

      Dr. Edwin Vieira: “This has nothing to do with personalities or subjective ideas. It’s a matter of what the Constitution provides...
      The government of the United States has never violated anyone’s constitutional rights... The government of the United States will never violate anyone constitutional rights, because it cannot violate anyone’s constitutional rights. The reason for that is: The government of the United States is that set of actions by public officials that are consistent with the Constitution. Outside of its constitutional powers, the government of the United States has no legitimacy. It has no authority; and, it really even has no existence. It is what lawyers call a legal fiction.

      ... the famous case Norton v. Shelby County... The Court said: “An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties. It is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”

      And that applies to any (and all) governmental action outside of the Constitution...”
      What are the defining characteristics of a limited government? They are its disabilities; what it does not have legal authority to do. Look at the First Amendment... What does it do? It guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion. But how does it do that? I quote: “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press” etcetera. “Congress shall make no law;” that’s a statement of an absence of power. That’s a statement of a disability."

      Americans would have had to understand and enforce their Constitution. You notice I say Americans, not the Congress or the Supreme Court, because who is the final arbiter of this document? [holding a copy of the Constitution] It is not Congress, and it is not the Supreme Court. It is “we the people.” Read the thing. How does it start? “We the people do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States”; not “we the politicians,” not “we the judges.” Those people are the agents of the people. We the people are the principals.
      The doctrine is very clear that, being the principals, we are the Constitution’s ultimate interpreters and enforcers. You don’t have to take my word for it. Let’s go back to the Founding Fathers...
      The Founding Fathers were profound students of law and political philosophy, their knowledge unequaled by any today. Their mentor in that era was William Blackstone, who wrote Blackstone’s Commentaries, probably the most widely read legal treatise of its time, certainly here in the United States. What did Blackstone write about this subject? He wrote, “Whenever a question arises between the society at large and any magistrate vested with powers originally delegated by that society, it must be decided by the voice of the society itself; there is not upon earth any other tribunal to resort to.”

      We the people are the Constitution’s ultimate interpreters. Dr. Edwin Vieira, http://www.constitution.org/mon/vieira_03225.htm (End Dr. Vieira quote)

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2014 @ 10:29pm

    I blame Congress for not reading the legislation they're voting on. No one else is to blame, but them. Vote the lazy and incompetent bums out of office.

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    • identicon
      David, 13 Dec 2014 @ 2:58am

      Re:

      Good luck finding a replacement to vote for that you haven't heard about mainly because his campaign has been financed by corporate players needing a handpuppet of their own.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2014 @ 12:38am

    Welp, fuck the Intelligence Community. I thought they wanted to show good will to us as they want us to work for them, and they pull this shit off?

    Fuck them. It's nauseating how horrid these sycophants are.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2014 @ 4:13am

    I think we should MD5SUM each version of a bill. You could compare hashes on vote day to see if the bill has been changed from when you decided how to vote.

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

    • identicon
      David, 13 Dec 2014 @ 4:53am

      Re:

      But you already cashed the cheques for casting your vote. So sticking with your vote is the safer option for making your pocket liners annoyed with someone else. After all, it's their own fault for not greasing the people topsyturvying the original bill enough.

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

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 5:01am

    I honestly cannot wait to see if people are going to do anything about their country sliding headlong into a dictatorship.

    We talk an awful lot and some of us protest, but do we really do anything about this. Generally those that protest get arrested and treated like terrorists for having the audacity to show dissent for their overlords.

    Does it have to take having your 2nd amendment rights taken away for people to do something. Armed revolution will cause massive deaths and property damage, but if the alternative is to patiently wait for your remaining rights to be outlawed in the name of fighting a artificial war that never ends.

    How long before you wake up one night to the sound of a SWAT team kicking down your door because you said something those in charge did not like. You and your family carted off to a prison without trial because those in charge said you were terrorists and terrorists have no rights.

    Considering much of that is already happening is it really a stretch to suggest it will become widespread and used against those that speak out against their government instead of just those that protest against their government?

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

    • icon
      Cal (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 8:28am

      Re:

      You saw some of it in Nevada at the Bundy ranch, and again in Ferguson with the Oathkeepers and the people who lived there defending their businesses and homes, and will see it again - today - in the state of Washington.

      The question really is, if you are an American citizen or one who is LEGALLY allowed to be here, are YOU going to learn how to constitutionally implement and defend your rights, yourself, your family/friends/community, state, and country from the domestic enemies and traitors serving within our government?

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

  • identicon
    lars626, 13 Dec 2014 @ 5:10am

    Who dun it?

    Do we know precisely who committed this crime?
    I would like to know the names so that I have a proper target for my retribution.

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

  • identicon
    Bill, 13 Dec 2014 @ 7:10am

    Apparently no one has read between the lines..... this MAY be a good thing that was done.

    Since there is really no court oversight over the EO, then by placing this law as a STATUTE, it now has court oversight. You see, we were getting nowhere in the courts on this issue.... the 4th Amendment was being ignored completely and it was just "spinning" and getting nowhere. BUT, by placing this authorization into LAW, no longer under the shield of EO, it can now be challenged in court as the data collection being "unconstitutional". I see that there was a complete avoidance of the term "non-foreign persons".... this means at this LAW of authorization ONLY applies to "U.S. persons"..... if the courts rule that the LAW is unconstitutional, then the application of the EO on "U.S. persons" gets a royal spanking by the courts. Or as Obama calls it "a shellacking". Maybe someone did us a favor?

    Study the past, present and what COULD happen with this LAW in the future..... this may have been a sneak attack on Obama and his misinterpretation of the law and Constitution.
    This could be the beginning of getting him under control.... I for one have heard enough of his "jungle interpretations".

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

    • identicon
      Bill, 13 Dec 2014 @ 7:24am

      Re:

      I had a typo!!

      I see that there was a complete avoidance of the term "non-foreign persons"

      MEANT: I see that there was a complete avoidance of the term "non-U.S. persons"

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2014 @ 7:51am

      Re:

      your acting like when they have been caught breaking laws or even perjury they have been prosecuted.

      They have not been, that's the main problem. They break their own laws and nothing comes of it. They just keep passing new laws that restrict citizens rights while ignoring any laws they break.

      No one arrests them or charges them or does anything aside from talk about it

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

      • identicon
        Bill, 13 Dec 2014 @ 8:05am

        Re: Re:

        Your comment on my comment makes no sense.... Your comment does not address what I made comments on. Only make comments on other comments when you are addressing that specific comment, please. Everyone here is complaining.... mine has possible insight... there was no difference between what you wrote and everyone else.

        Look, they are going to record communications with or without this law.... everyone agrees with that.... BUT, if this LAW is found to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL in the courts, then the application of this under EO is clearly unlawful. The courts DO have the authority to tell Obummer that he can no longer do what he believes he can do. THINK ABOUT IT.

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

        • icon
          Padpaw (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 7:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          how often do the courts do this?

          I have seen more often than not just go along with the illegality of the governments actions simply because the government says they have to do unlawful things because national security.

          very rarely do the courts press them for actual info other than "oh its national security do what you want then"

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

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 8:32am

        Re: Re:

        No one arrests them or charges them or does anything aside from talk about it

        I like to assume we're in the Analysis, or perhaps even Design, phase. Analyze the problem, then Design the solution based on what the analysis turns up. Implementation of the designed solution comes after those are done sufficiently. Implementation will fail if the others weren't done adequately.

        Stir in Agile if you think it would help. I tend to consider that's little more than a marketroid's buzzword, but ymmv.

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

    • icon
      Cal (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 8:35am

      Re:

      You are incorrect.

      EO's are not lawful here, they have never been lawful here, they are usurpations that the "courts - another FEDERAL branch that has been increasing its "powers" unlawfully.

      The word "All" in Article 1, Section 1 of the US Constitution makes it forbidden to the other two federal branches.

      Article. I. Section. 1: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."

      An EO is writing legislation and forbidden to all by the legislative branch. It does not matter how long this violation has been committed, it is still not LAW, it is "null and void". It is "color of law", pretend law that exists and is implemented because the people are too ignorant of our legitimate government to know what the powers and authority those who serve within the federal government are ALLOWED to practice.

      I understand the dumbing down of Americans was deliberate, and done over decades (mid 1050's - current), but one can always read for themselves at the very least the US Constitution!

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

      • identicon
        Bill, 13 Dec 2014 @ 9:38am

        Re: Re:

        EO's are not writing law..... the original intention of EO's was to allow the president to issue orders in case congress could not convene (refer to Pres. Lincoln).... EO's have never been law, but Executive POLICY. The president can write EO's for items (such as foreign surveillance and such), as congress DOES NOT HAVE THAT POWER. He does so as Commander in Chief. These imaginary wars give him the authority to do so. However, the president does not have the authority to issue EO's that apply on American Soil..... The EO being used that Reagan issued was ONLY for foreign citizens and U.S. citizens that are in communication with those foreign citizens being surveilled (if that is a word). Bush and Obama are of the belief that they can do whatever they want (Bush started it).

        But everyone is missing the point here.... by congress making it "legal", by STATUTE, to record ALL communications of American Citizens, they have no ALLOWED the courts to hear and rule on the issue for constitutionality. This is something that the courts have NOT been able to do up to this point. Obama says they can record all conversations in America.... by EO claim (something it never said).... congress now makes it legal so that it can now be brought before a court..... if the court decides that it is unconstitutional (4th Amendment violation), then the question comes up as to WHAT LAW Obama is relying on to do this recording of Americans....... when the wording of the EO is read in court, that excuse is null and void for enforcement..... when 215 is read, that too does not apply to every American.... when 702 is read, that one too does not apply to every American.... am I the only one that sees this?????

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

        • identicon
          Hans, 13 Dec 2014 @ 12:46pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ...by congress making it "legal", by STATUTE, to record ALL communications of American Citizens, they have no[w] ALLOWED the courts to hear and rule on the issue for constitutionality.

          I thought about this as I was forwarding this article to friends/family, but I don't think it will work out as you suggest. While we may see court consideration of this new statute, I'm skeptical it will apply to the EO. In other words, the courts will not review the behavior, but the law. The executive and agencies will just continue to do the behavior under the authority of the EO. And if they are asked anything at a congressional hearing we'll get the same "not under this authority" bullshit.

          Yes, I'd like to think that this was a clever move to win control and oversight of this, but I'm too old and cynical.

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

          • identicon
            Bill, 13 Dec 2014 @ 3:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Finally, someone is getting it. The republicans want to create an embarrassment to the white house, what better way than to pull a bluff. It is up to SOMEONE to file the constitutionality action.... the white house can't stop that. If it was not intended to have the effect that I suggest, then won't they be surprised. Regardless, any court action on this is going to reveal that it is against the 4th Amendment to unilaterally eavesdrop for evidence or investigatory purposes (court order required). Once that happens, the claimed "authorities" for such activity come into legal question, but the EO is outed IMMEDIATELY.

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

        • identicon
          David, 13 Dec 2014 @ 5:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Bush and Obama are of the belief that they can do whatever they want (Bush started it).

          More like Nixon. Bush, however, actually prevailed.

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

          • identicon
            Bill, 13 Dec 2014 @ 6:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You got it! However it was Clinton who made the statement when he was pres that he wished he could rule by EO, it would be much easier.

            I think this is what BO is all about.... find any excuse to disagree with congress and then plead to the people that congress is dysfunctional and issue another EO to further his agenda,..... then blame congress for the EO, because "someone HAD to do something, so I did".

            Have a nice weekend all! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanuka, and may the Muslim's all bitch, moan, groan and complain that WE Americans have our own lifestyle too, and refuse to bow down to theirs.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 15 Dec 2014 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      "BUT, by placing this authorization into LAW, no longer under the shield of EO, it can now be challenged in court as the data collection being "unconstitutional"."


      It's just the opposite. Laws are more difficult to challenge than EOs. EOs can, by the way, be challenged in court, including but not limited to challenging them on constitutional issues.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2014 @ 7:16am

    Job ONE! MONEY

    It has become quite clear that our politicians have been bribed into placing subversion of the Constitution as their FIRST PRIORITY and left their constituents in the lurch. You may disbelieve this and ask what would cause this? The answer is MONEY, politicians have devolved to such low levels of prostitution they give whores a bad image. A most blatant example is the FOIA bill that was Tabled by Sen. John Boner (pun intended as fully appropriate)after a unanimous 410-0 passage. Time will tell who bought that move, or maybe not, its so embarrassingly outrageous to leave fingerprints on. The pundits exclaim that we get the representation we deserve but we all know that the game is fixed. All we get to choose from are tweedle-dum tweedle-dee candidates foisted upon our ballots by the two cartels called political parties. We get to pick the least worse and get chastised for electing the bastard when the other bastard was even worse. The whole pack should be prosecuted under the the RICO act, but that would require an honest justice system, fat chance for that. Many will call me a malcontent cynic, not at all, I used to be a cool aid drinking optimist, now I'm just a disillusioned realist.
    We are devolving into a nation that will make Russia look progressive. I can only wish there is a special place in hell for crooked politicians, I've lost hope the public will oust the current batch of crooks and take the financial incentive out of politics.

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

    • icon
      Cal (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 9:27am

      Re: Job ONE! MONEY

      Election Fraud is rampant, but again, that is OUR fault as we allow it.

      "Who" does this say does the actions in the following paragraph? "What" in the following paragraph, are those actions they are to take?

      Preamble:
      We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

      Who - We the People of the United States.

      What are we to do? "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity".

      What else did we do? "Ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America".

      It is in the first person to show that "WE the People of the United States are always the sovereign of this nation, NOT the UN, not anyone who SERVES within our governments - WE are.

      Never be ashamed of naivete. "I used to be a cool aid drinking optimist, now I'm just a disillusioned realist." It is what we are, what we were or they NEVER could have done what they are doing, have been doing since Wilson.

      But now there is no excuse for you, or anyone else, to act as the US Constitution tells you/them to.

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

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 7:38am

    Sneaky, last-minute provisions is good for the gander too

    Amash and Lofgren should sneak a reversal (or NOT sneak, just blatantly add) a reversal to every single bill that comes up before Congress until one passes. Maybe that will be harder now that the Republicans control Congress, though...

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

  • icon
    MarcAnthony (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 8:11am

    Acquisition = seizure

    This isn't the government to which we consented. "The acquisition, retention, and dissemination" of "nonpublic communications flies in the face of our right to be free from unreasonable and warrantless seizure. Any order or bill that so blatantly contravenes the spirit of the Constitution, without first amending the latter, should automatically fail and the supporters of same should lose their jobs as our representatives.

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

    • icon
      Cal (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 9:45am

      Re: Acquisition = seizure

      Exactly.

      Dr. Edwin Vieira:
      “This has nothing to do with personalities or subjective ideas. It’s a matter of what the Constitution provides...

      The government of the United States has never violated anyone’s constitutional rights...

      The government of the United States will never violate anyone constitutional rights, because it cannot violate anyone’s constitutional rights. The reason for that is: The government of the United States is that set of actions by public officials that are consistent with the Constitution. Outside of its constitutional powers, the government of the United States has no legitimacy. It has no authority; and, it really even has no existence. It is what lawyers call a legal fiction.

      ... the famous case Norton v. Shelby County... The Court said: “An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties. It is, in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”

      And that applies to any (and all) governmental action outside of the Constitution...”

      What are the defining characteristics of a limited government? They are its disabilities; what it does not have legal authority to do.

      Look at the First Amendment... What does it do? It guarantees freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion.

      But how does it do that? I quote: “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press” etcetera. “Congress shall make no law;” that’s a statement of an absence of power. That’s a statement of a disability. ..."

      It is, and always has been up to us, not those we put into office - be it elected, hired, contracted or volunteered. Our founders knew that the chances of having domestic enemies or even traitors put into office were fairly high. That is why we are armed, educated, individuals, plus why the US Constitution divided our government.

      We have the first part of our government: "We the People", the states, then the federal government. It is further divided up into three branches within both the federal and state governments.

      Our natural rights, and many that we have that are not put into writing but covered under the Ninth Amendment PROTECTED from those who serve within our governments - the stares and federal.

      Then it made sure that we, as the Militia are the only armed people except for when a Military is needed and ONLY THEN are they to be created, but for no longer then the congressionally declared WAR ends or 2 years whichever comes first.

      US Constitution, Article I, Section. 8, Clause 12: “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years”.

      James Madison, Father of the US Constitution: “... large and permanent military establishments ... are forbidden by the principles of free government, and against the necessity of which the militia were meant to be a constitutional bulwark.”

      Daniel Webster: “Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war in which the folly and wickedness of the government may engage itself? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest right of personal liberty? Who will show me any Constitutional injunction which makes it the duty of the American people to surrender everything valuable in life, and even life, itself, whenever the purposes of an ambitious and mischievous government may require it? ..."

      Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution: "Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings and blood of their ancestors; and capable, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence…
      Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them."

      Cockrum v. State: “The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers delegated directly to the citizen, and is excepted out of the general powers of government. A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power”

      Bliss v. Commonwealth: "Arms restrictions - even concealed weapons bans - are unconstitutional, since arms bearing is an individual right and the legislature may not restrict any aspect of such a right.”

      Nunn vs. State:'The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right”.

      Samuel Adams: “It is always dangerous to the liberties of the people to have an army stationed among them, over which they have no control ... The Militia is composed of free Citizens. There is therefore no danger of their making use of their Power to the destruction of their own Rights, or suffering others to invade them.”

      Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd Edition: "The body of citizens in a state, enrolled for discipline as a military force, but not engaged in actual service except in emergencies, as distinguished from regular troops or a standing army."

      James Madison: "An efficient militia is authorized and contemplated by the Constitution and REQUIRED by the spirit and safety of free government." (caps are mine)

      John Norton Pomeroy: “The object of this clause [the right of the people to keep and bear arms] is to secure a well-armed militia.... But a militia would be useless unless the citizens were enabled to exercise themselves in the use of warlike weapons. To preserve this privilege, and to secure to the people the ability to oppose themselves in military force against the usurpations of government, as well as against enemies from without, that government is forbidden by any law or proceeding to invade or destroy the right to keep and bear arms.”

      Noah Webster: Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive."

      I'd say we are about there, are you ready to do YOUR duty? To learn the US Constitution? To train to be the Militia of your state? To remove the governor of your state if he/she refuses to call up the Militia - though that is not needed per se?

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

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 8:32am

    Does anyone really believe

    That the law has any meaning anymore? People are beaten and arrested for looking at a cop. If you can't even look at what is in public, without risking a beating, then just what "freedoms" do you have?

    We have created reputed rights to all sorts of things, because calling them privileges are said to hurt some peoples self images. I do not question the validity, good or bad of said grants. But making them "rights" are the mechanism by which the real rights as outlined in the Constitution ad its amendments are diluted into meaninglessness.

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

  • identicon
    Reality bites, 13 Dec 2014 @ 9:19am

    To be expected of the congressclowns, just puppets and traitors

    Can't expect even one of them to have a brain. They are paid minions of the psychorich.

    more crime is committed by those in authority than by those under it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2014 @ 10:57am

    The world is going to shit

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2014 @ 11:14am

    so two crimes then
    Thd insertion of a law at the last minute and what that "law" is trying to achieve
    The whole thing is corrupted and needs to be taken down and started afresh.........break the to big to fail mentality in the next line of well intentioned but misguided representatives

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2014 @ 1:20pm

    I 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.

    Sooner or later the courts will have to deal with this, and God help us if they don't. If congress gives away any more of their authority we might as well disband them and have the judicial and executive branches run the country. I shudder to think of the time and money that would save the American Taxpayer. I am sick and tired of cleaning the congressional excrement off of our Constitution. A Constitutional Convention is long over due, too bad not one seems to have the stomach for it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Dec 2014 @ 1:41pm

    Kind of a non-issue

    It won't hold up to scrutiny by SCOTUS, anyway. And if SCOTUS does uphold THAT, then they're so incompetent/corrupt they'd have found another way anyway, without this new law. Just sayin'

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

  • identicon
    Dan G Difino, 13 Dec 2014 @ 2:35pm

    So What?

    Given how many governments are just waiting to attack us, someone at some point is going to want all out authority to launch attacks and not have to worry about the legality.

    This government acts like I do in a way. I'm pretty passive until you mess with me or my loved ones or my property. Then, you can expect what you are not likely expecting.

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

    • icon
      Padpaw (profile), 13 Dec 2014 @ 7:59pm

      Re: So What?

      save when they are carpet bombing civilians and calling them terrorists because any male in the bomb zone must be a terrorist to avoid it being a war crime.

      That's real passive behaviour

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

  • identicon
    Dan G Difino, 13 Dec 2014 @ 3:22pm

    Outsiders living inside USA

    To many people who are not native to the USA, they swore an oath pledging allegiance to the United States of America, but only gave lip service as a means to an end. Not only are some of these people still foreign at heart, but enemies of the country they swore this false allegiance to. Not only are they enemies of the United States government and leaders of our nation, they are sworn enemies of our nation as a whole. This may necessitate a different perspective on our laws and definitely should put everyone on alert in these days of global conflict. Some of our freedoms must go into a dutiful mode in order to help as good citizens of our country to aid however we can in light of the technology that exists and is freely available that assists these enemies who swear to their God to bring as much devastation as possible to our Great Nation.

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

  • icon
    Sinan Unur (profile), 14 Dec 2014 @ 4:14am

    It's not just about the five years

    You are right that now there is a law allowing hoovered information to be kept for at least five years.

    However, note that the law also makes an exception in case captured information is encrypted. In that case, it can be kept indefinitely.

    If sites you browse, or your email server, are using TLS with perfect forward secrecy, everything you do is encrypted, and probably not crackable. Therefore, everyone's browsing is pretty much subject to indefinite retention given the recent push towards HTTPS everywhere.

    HTTPS everywhere and H.R.4681 - Intelligence Authorization Act

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

  • identicon
    the analyst, 14 Dec 2014 @ 2:13pm

    Dianne Feintein

    The incriminated text was present before the amendment ; everybody sleeps around there ??

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

  • identicon
    cassador, 15 Dec 2014 @ 7:26am

    Names, you have to use names

    "And they did it all quietly without any debate."

    Why on earth would you write this story and omit the details about who "they" are? I know a lot of crap goes on, but backing away from the details by using "a high-level official", "a ranking member", "they" don't help me become a better informed voter or identify possible actions.

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


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