Kudos To Senator Leahy: Fighting To Keep Privacy & Civil Liberties Board From Being Hobbled

from the keep-at-it dept

While I think that Senator Patrick Leahy has been ridiculously and dangerously wrong on copyright issues for years, he's actually quite good on a number of other issues that are of interest to us here at Techdirt. In particular, he's been a strong supporter of civil liberties on the internet and protecting the 4th Amendment (it's unfortunate that he doesn't see how his desired copyright policies might undermine some of that, but that's another post for another day). Thankfully, his latest move is to push back against a plan by the Senate and House Intelligence Committees to strip the federal government's Privacy and Civil Liberties Board (PCLOB).

Back in May, we wrote about this effort, whereby Congress appeared to be deliberately stripping powers from the PCLOB in order to limit the board's ability to actually make sure that the intelligence community wasn't abusing its powers. Senator Leahy has now sent a fairly direct letter to Senate Intelligence chair Senator Richard Burr and vice chair Senator Dianne Feinstein calling out how terrible this plan is.

The letter calls out the "pattern" that has been put in place by both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to one by one by one strip powers from the PCLOB. After giving a bunch of examples of this playing out, with the language stripping the powers being agreed upon in secret (of course), Leahy notes:
The PCLOB has served a valuable role in reviewing government surveillance programs and recommending reforms that have largely been implemented by the executive branch. It is particularly inappropriate to debate and report legislation in a closed markup that is designed to diminish the authority of a public, independent oversight board. Congress should b enhancing its role, not undercutting it.
It then asks them to remove these PCLOB-undermining provisions from the intel re-authorization bill. Of course, Feinstein and Burr want to hobble the PCLOB because they've long been cheerleaders for widespread surveillance, and have actively fought against any real or significant oversight. There's a reason why these riders undermining the PCLOB keep showing up, and it's because Senators like Feinstein and Burr are deliberately trying to protect the intelligence community from oversight. So unless some bigger force comes along, it's doubtful this letter will have much of a direct impact. But, even so, kudos to Leahy for sending the letter as a starting point. Hopefully he follows through and continues to keep the pressure up.

Filed Under: congress, dianne feinstein, oversight, patrick leahy, pclob, richard burr


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Jul 2016 @ 3:44pm

    The Confusion

    Diane Feinstein:'I read and reread the Constitution and I didn't find the word privacy anywhere'.

    Feinstein Opposer:'Um, Senator Feinstein, the Constitution limits the government in what they can do. It does not limit the public in any rights they might hold that are not mentioned'.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2016 @ 4:16pm

    Feinstein doesn't believe in the bill of rights, period. You'll never meet a power she doesn't believe should be reserved for the National government.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 20 Jul 2016 @ 4:43pm

    cOPARE TO hOLLYWOOD

    Hollywood:
    Any news is good news..
    It keeps your name in the public view.

    Politics:
    Any news is BAD news..
    And Barely and NOT ENOUGH Good news..

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2016 @ 5:07pm

    PCLOB seems to be doing the job that the Senate Intelligence Committee SHOULD be doing - overseeing intelligence agencies, and NOT being cheerleaders for them.

    So now of course they want to get rid of it so they can continue their cheerleading unencumbered while lying to us about how "strict" the oversight they're doing is.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2016 @ 7:36pm

    incredible someone as dense as Feinstein can hold such a position.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 20 Jul 2016 @ 10:15pm

    "whereby Congress appeared to be deliberately stripping"

    Eww, not so sure I want to see that.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2016 @ 10:47am

    "...the "pattern" that has been put in place..." "...to one by one by one strip powers..." This is otherwise known as incrementalism, and has been long been used as a technique to depower the masses used by filthy zionist pieces of shit like Feinstein. In fact, it's is pretty much the way of congress as a whole, being zionist central.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2016 @ 11:50am

    Too bad we don't have anyone in the government protecting us from privacy invasion by mass-Surveillance Valley. I doubt TD would be very supportive of that if we did, though.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 21 Jul 2016 @ 1:42pm

      Re:

      Techdirt has never given tech companies a pass from such criticism, as near as I can tell.

      As to government protection, I would be surprised if Techdirt's position were different toward tech companies than anyone else.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

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.