Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lies

from the sad dept

Earlier this week, we wrote about a ridiculous misinformation campaign that was being sent around by House Intelligence Committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes against an amendment (sponsored by Reps. Thomas Massie and Zoe Lofgren) to a Defense appropriations bill that would block spending on two different kinds of surveillance "backdoors." First, ending backdoor searches, whereby tons of information on Americans that was collected "incidentally" as part of other searches, and then kept, could be scanned without requiring the showing of probable cause. Second, blocking the NSA from requiring backdoors into encryption technologies. A basically identical amendment easily passed in each of the last two years, but was stripped out before a final bill was approved.

With so much focus on things like iPhone encryption this year, some were wondering how the House would handle the amendment this year, and Nunes apparently decided to ramp up the pure FUD and lies against it, sending around a letter that exploited the Orlando shootings from this weekend, falsely claiming that the bill would block law enforcement/intelligence from scanning the 702 database for connections between the shooter and overseas individuals. This is wrong (never mind the fact that the CIA admitted yesterday that it can't find any connections at all). There are plenty of other tools available, including the ability to get a warrant, for officials to search for the relevant data. Nothing in the amendment would have stopped that at all. It only stops the random sniffing through the database, without cause.

But, apparently such disinformation works. The amendment was narrowly voted down by the house, 198 - 222. Massie has said that he thinks Nunes' propaganda campaign was partly to blame.
Rep. Thomas Massie... the sponsor of the amendment the last three years, said he thought there were two reasons the proposal failed on Thursday. "I think it was about Orlando and a stronger disinformation campaign from the committee," he said, referring to a letter from Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes... that criticized the amendment.

"We had a stiff headwind," Massie continued. "But I think the winds will eventually change, and we'll prevail one day."
And it appears that Nunes' lies worked so well they were parroted by others during the debate:
Rep. Chris Stewart... who said he rose "to oppose the Massie amendment and the inaccurate accusations that underly it," argued that if the proposal were in effect today, the intelligence community would be unable to search the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act database for information on the deceased Orlando shooter, Omar Mateen. FISA is a law used to collect data on foreigners, but the National Security Agency dragnet also catches information on U.S. citizens who interact with those foreigners.

"We should be focused on thwarting terrorist attacks," Stewart said Wednesday, "not on thwarting the ability of intelligence professionals to investigate and stop them."
The only inaccurate accusations, though, are the ones put forth by Stewart here. NOTHING in the amendment would have thwarted anyone's ability to investigate the Mateen shooting or any other attack.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte repeated the same false thing as well:
"This amendment prohibits the government from searching data already in its possession, collected lawfully under section 702 of FISA, to determine whether Omar Mateen was in contact with foreign terrorists overseas."
Except it doesn't.

It's disappointing, if not that surprising, that it appears that the blatant misinformation and lies succeed to convince Congress to sanction practices that appear to be in conflict with the 4th Amendment.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 17 Jun 2016 @ 3:53am

    FUD is a tool we need.

    FUD is usually looked upon as being an evil way to accomplish bad things. But instead we should consider it as a mere tool such as a gun or knife. Imagine for all the FUD campaigns that the government sends out we would send out 4x as much involving the real version of it. They want backdoor access to encryption. We would explain how the average individual would be able to steal all their money. Kidnap their family, launch nuclear missiles and kill puppies. The kill puppies is the final nail in the coffin of our opponents FUD. As nobody would want to risk the lives of puppies.

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

    • identicon
      Daydream, 17 Jun 2016 @ 4:12am

      Re: FUD is a tool we need.

      "It is indisputable fact that several organized crime syndicates working out of New York City and other major American cities, are using fabricated copyright claims against themselves and settlements in order to launder money with the help of the Big Intellectual Property groups. They're targeted by a claim, they send the money off, they get back their squeaky-clean cut."

      "These Big I.P. organizations are in turn paying millions of dollars in lobbying senators for not only stronger copyright legislation to help hide their laundering, but to sponsor backdoors in commonly used software, including financial software, and if this is allowed, the American Mafia will use these backdoors to commit identity theft on an unheard of scale!"

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

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 17 Jun 2016 @ 5:52am

      Re: FUD is a tool we need.

      The kill puppies is the final nail in the coffin of our opponents FUD. As nobody would want to risk the lives of puppies.

      I can think of a few that would.... a kitten however...

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

  • identicon
    David, 17 Jun 2016 @ 5:39am

    Of course disinformation works

    Particularly opinionated disinformation, also know as propaganda.

    Just look at the results of the primaries so far.

    Congresspeople are representatives, just like the ones voting for the ultimate presidential candidates.

    It would be suspicious if they didn't lick up any incoherent pseudo-patriotic cool aid: then it would be inconsistent with the current crop of presidential candidates.

    So it's great to see that the U.S. political system leads to consistent results representing the political education and acumen of the populace diligently.

    This is how democracy is supposed to work.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 6:14am

      Re: Of course disinformation works

      You were okay until you had to lean a direction.

      The Kool-Aid is drank by all sides. Every candidate will have something wrong with them, there is no avoiding that. There is something I like and hate about every president we have had through out history.

      The political system is not what leads us to these terrible results. The fault will eternally be with the people doing the voting. We are responsible for stopping this and we are failing.

      Every Nation gets the government it deserves

      ~Joseph de Maistre

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 10:52am

        Re: Re: Of course disinformation works

        "pseudo-patriotic" implies a particular party?

        lol

        I get the whole dog whistle thing, but is this looks like some form of reverse dog whistle - where you get to claim the other guy is not patriotic. Brilliant!

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

        • identicon
          David, 17 Jun 2016 @ 11:39am

          Re: Re: Re: Of course disinformation works

          "pseudo-patriotic" implies a particular party?

          Well, arguably it does not include the CPA.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 5:45am

    maybe they should read the bills themselves and form their own opinions... just like I movie critics I don't always agree with the reviewer after watching the movie myself...

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 6:18am

      Re:

      They wills start doing that once the American Citizen starts dinging them for it.

      It's OUR JOB to make sure they are doing THEIR JOB!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 10:57am

        Re: Re:

        Thank - You.
        Your enthusiasm is both invigorating and inspirational, please keep up the good work and do inform us about recent advances in your efforts to rid society of our corruption and malfeasance.

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

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 20 Jun 2016 @ 5:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You do it by calling and writing to your representatives to encourage them to do right by the nation. Unless we make a point of calling them out personally when they do things we don't like, they'll keep doing it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 5:51am

    Große Lüge

    Stick with the proven methods, right? Nudge, wink, say no more.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 7:11am

    How do traitors like Rep. Devin Nunes continue to misrepresent us? Maybe it takes drastic actions like the unfortunate British lawmaker?

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

  • icon
    ArkieGuy (profile), 17 Jun 2016 @ 7:53am

    Lying to congress

    Isn't it illegal to lie to congress? Sounds like an impeachable offense for some anti-privacy congress critters.

    Oh wait.... It's probably not illegal for a congressman to lie to congress, just peasants.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 8:44am

    It's so sad to see congress voting on things without understanding them.

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

    • identicon
      David, 17 Jun 2016 @ 2:48pm

      Re:

      Particularly when the whole point of paying them a salary for making the decision is for them to acquire a better understanding of the matter than their constituents.

      If they are not doing the job they are paid for, the constituents would be better off voting themselves.

      It's like paying some handyman for a job where you end up doing more work than if you did it yourself in the first place, and having to pay the guy for making your life harder.

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

  • identicon
    Mohammed Cohen, 17 Jun 2016 @ 9:07am

    Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lie

    Read the Master Plan "Protocol of the Learned Elders of Zion" to understand when and how these diabolical "chosen people" tactfully and sneakingly crept into each and every segment of our American government, media, banks and our social structures to eat through the roots of America's greatness. I'm afraid its way too late to reverse the clock as the momentum of this evil cabal is way too strong to slow down, forget about stopping it. Read the history and find out how these parasites have hollowed each and every empire in the past! God help us all!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 11:01am

      Re: Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lie

      All is lost, give up now and save yourself all that frustration and agony - then read about how it is the fault of others and you are not complicit - feel the rage - Yesssssss, this is the path to the Dark Side.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 12:40pm

        Re: Re: Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lie

        " the path to the Dark Side."

        ...is paved with good intentions...

        sprouting from logical fallacies.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 12:38pm

      Re: Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lie

      Allah in Hades, I hope this is satire...

      "Read the Master Plan "Protocol of the Learned Elders of Zion" to understand when and how these diabolical "chosen people" tactfully and sneakingly crept into each and every segment of our American government, media, banks and our social structures to eat through the roots of America's greatness."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 1:29pm

      Re: Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lie

      Amazing really, with a name like that you don't seem to have a shred of self awareness how labeling an entire culture of people as being a collective evil hive mind is bad

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

    • identicon
      David, 17 Jun 2016 @ 3:00pm

      Re: Disinformation Works: House Rejects Plan To Stop Backdoor Surveillance Searches Following Devin Nunes Lie

      Henry Ford, is that you? Go back into your grave. Some Austrian landscape painter went overboard on this antisemitism thing in Europe and it went out of fashion. Like, really overboard. Nuts enough to scare a squirrel. A few hundred millions considered it a good idea. Until they didn't.

      These days, our favorite Middle Eastern punching bags responsible for all evil are Arabs, preferably of Islamic religion.

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

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Jun 2016 @ 9:12am

    Lies

    This reminds me of the West Wing quote where one politician is debating another politician when the first one interrupts and cries "Your Lying!" and the second responds "Well, yes I am, but let me finish!".

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

  • identicon
    Rana, 17 Jun 2016 @ 10:01am

    Lying Works

    That's why they keep doing it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Jun 2016 @ 1:25pm

    The criminals in charge will not let their police state be gotten rid of through legal means.

    They will use every illegal and criminal method they can to stop reform from fixing the blatant corruption permeating everything.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.