Mitch McConnell Pushing Bad Amendments To Block Any Useful Amendments On Surveillance Reform

from the because-of-course dept

No matter what some are claiming, there are some important reforms in the USA Freedom Act. It doesn't go far enough, and the bill is far from perfect, but as a starting point it has some value. But with three provisions expiring last night, while the Senate looks to finally vote on the USA Freedom Act, it has allowed Mitch McConnell to "fill the tree" with really bad amendments, rather than with actually useful amendments that would improve the USA Freedom Act. Chances are that McConnell's amendments won't pass either -- and the original version of the USA Freedom Act will make it through. But the whole situation should just be a reminder that whatever happens this week, we still need significantly more reform before the abuses of the intelligence community are truly limited and stopped.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 1:34pm

    Useful, improved, and bad...

    ...are all a matter of perspective. What we call useful and improved, Mitch McConnell calls bad, and what we call bad is the opposite of what Mitch McConnell calls useful and improved. It is dependent upon what ones goal is, and those in power want to be corrupted absolutely.

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

  • icon
    MadAsASnake (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 1:47pm

    I don't believe that the abuses of the intelligence community will be truly limited and stopped until those responsible for them are thrown in jail. Unfortunately, as Clapper has shown, this is very unlikely at the moment.

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

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 1:58pm

    No matter what some are claiming, there are some important reforms in the USA Freedom Act. It doesn't go far enough, and the bill is far from perfect, but as a starting point it has some value.

    Am I misremembering something here? I seem to recall that various groups following these issues, such as the EFF, pulled support for it because it not only "doesn't go far enough" but actively makes some things worse, even without McConnell's help.

    Is that still the case?

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 2:00pm

      Re:

      Am I misremembering something here? I seem to recall that various groups following these issues, such as the EFF, pulled support for it because it not only "doesn't go far enough" but actively makes some things worse, even without McConnell's help

      You are. EFF did not say it makes things worse. Just that after the 2nd Circuit opinion, it should be made stronger.

      I still agree. But, again, as a starting point, USA Freedom is a small step in the right direction that needs to be followed up with a lot more.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 3:18pm

        Re: Re:

        I think the problem is, from a political standpoint, USA Freedom is the "giant leap" that proves they've done something. Other than a few vocal members, Congress and the Senate have no real motivation to attempt anything further once this goes through.

        It's sort of like they've stuck little boys' fingers in most of the holes in the dam and have set up a bucket brigade, but haven't really even begun to look at repairing the dam itself. The USA Freedom Act puts surveillance reform into a state where the pressure of sunset clauses is gone, and the major visible issues are solved.

        A step in the right direction that ignores the chasm directly ahead isn't necessarily the BEST step -- and this is the point that the EFF was making.

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

      • identicon
        Lampert, 1 Jun 2015 @ 3:22pm

        Re: Re:

        The USA Freedom Act is an abomination because it fully endorses the outrageous concepts of the horrific Patriot Act-- it merely adds some band-aids to the outrageously non-constitutional practices established by the Patriot Act.
        It's Lipstick-on-a-Pig.

        FISA/FISA-Court are an anathema to a free society... anything less than their immediate abolition just bolsters their evil power. The supposed FISA procedural reforms in the "Freedom Act" are pathetic ... and in no way even partially cure the FISA menace. And the increased reporting requirements & Congressional oversight "reforms" are standard Potomac bureaucratic B.S.

        Anybody claiming there are some 'important reforms' in the USA Freedom Act is blind to the fundamental issues of a free society really at stake here.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 2:46pm

    what do you expect from someone who still thinks that Snowden is a traitor and what he did was illegal? shame McConnell cant look at what he's doing. in my opinion he's more of a traitor than Snowden and all the whistle blowers put together could ever be! they had/have the people in mind, McConnell has the government. two completely different subjects. i know what i prefer but know which will win as all the people with guns work for the government and they aren't afraid of using them!

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  • icon
    Nickweller (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 3:54pm

    Freedom is slavery, Ignorance is strength

    Is this 'USA Freedom Act' one of those entities that are designed to do the exact opposite of that which they are entitled. As in shouldn't it be called 'USA subjugation Act'. Reminds me of how the USSR used to refer to the 'dictatorship of the people' - only it wasn't

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

  • icon
    cypherspace (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 3:55pm

    There's a more pragmatic (not in a good way) side to it: any amendments would either send the bill back to the House and/or force a conference on this legislation.

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

  • icon
    lucidrenegade (profile), 1 Jun 2015 @ 4:05pm

    Considering that the law no longer exists, how are they able to pass the Freedom Act, which just modified the law, now? Shouldn't they have to start over?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Jun 2015 @ 4:59pm

      Re:

      Given that in their eyes, the constitution does not actually state what everyone else reads ... then it is a small step for them to believe that the law did not actually expire and they can simply act as though nothing happened and they did not make themselves look stupid.

      Quick - to the turtlemobile !

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

    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 2 Jun 2015 @ 9:17am

      Re:

      The provisions in the Freedom Act which extended parts of the Patriot Act are only part of the total. Those parts shouldn't be applicable since the laws they act on have already expired (in many eyes this is a legal grey area although I hope section 215 stays dead) but, the modifications of other (permanent) parts of the Patriot Act and other surveillance related laws are still important.

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


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