Even As The GOP Whines About Illegal 'Deep State' Surveillance, It's Preparing To Give More Surveillance Powers To The FBI

from the fucking-hypocrites dept

We've been pretty critical of federal surveillance powers going back, well, as long as we can remember. And while Trump's biggest supporters like to insist that FISA warrant abuses were some sort of new thing that were just used against his campaign in a politically motivated manner, the reality is that it's just been standard operating procedures for the FBI to abuse the same "backdoor warrants" that were first revealed in 2013, but go back years before that. While, yes, the problems with the Carter Page surveillance were concerning, they were no more concerning than tons of other crap the FBI has done in making use of so-called backdoor warrants to surveil tons of Americans without cause.

Indeed, just this morning we were writing about how the FBI couldn't even bother to meet the most basic procedural requirements regarding the use of these backdoor searches, and violated the Constitution over and over and over again in sniffing through this huge corpus of data.

Now, you might hope that even as we've had a new rash of misleading "deep state" complaints from Trump and his fans over the past few days, the government might actually look to pull back on the authorities granted to the DOJ/FBI to spy on Americans this way, but it appears that (of course) the opposite is happening. A draft bill to renew FISA powers would expand the FBI's ability to conduct warrantless backdoor surveillance of Americans by snarfing their way through NSA collections of data.

Indeed it appears that, rather than enabling these backdoor searches through, let's just say, creative interpretation of the words in the law, the new amendment would explicitly allow such searches.

Under cover of redressing what President Donald Trump and his allies call the FBI’s “witch hunt” over collusion with the Kremlin, McConnell, via an amendment to the PATRIOT Act, will expressly permit the FBI to warrantlessly collect records on Americans’ web browsing and search histories.

As always, Senator Ron Wyden is sounding the alarm:

“Under the McConnell amendment, Barr gets to look through the web browsing history of any American—including journalists, politicians, and political rivals—without a warrant, just by saying it is relevant to an investigation,” said Wyden, who has been trying to ban warrantless surveillance on such records.

It's no surprise that the DOJ/FBI want to retain these powers, and it's even less of a surprise that Attorney General Bill Barr, who has done more to politicize the DOJ than any Attorney General in decades, wants such easily abused surveillance powers. But it does make it quite clear that those who have been whining and complaining about the "deep state", and talking about how unfair it is that Trump officials were subject to FBI surveillance, are generally full-of-shit hypocrites.

Filed Under: 4th amendment, backdoor searches, deep state, doj, fbi, fisa, mitch mcconnell, nsa, patriot act, surveillance, warrants


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 May 2020 @ 10:04am

    'You can search anything you want, except our stuff.'

    They're only hypocrites if you think that their position is that warrantless searches in general are a bad thing. If you instead treat it as 'searches, warrants or not, on our guys are a bad thing' then it's perfectly consistent.

    They've got no problem with government agencies snooping through the communications of US citizens, just so long as that snooping doesn't include their stuff or their people.

    On a more general note by arguing that the government should be able to engage in searches without warrants what they are essentially admitting is that the want the ability to engage in fishing expeditions, being able to perform invasive searches simply on a whim because they lack even the most basic requirements needed for a warrant.

    If those proposing such bills were capable of feeling shame 'we want the ability to engage in baseless searches because we don't feel like having to follow that 'bill of rights' rubbish' might not make for the best look, but I suppose since the goal is to further empower government agencies to ignore the rights of the filthy peons having to ignore criticism about how they're selling out the public's rights is a cost they're willing to pay.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2020 @ 11:09am

      Re: 'You can search anything you want, except our stuff.'

      Hypocrisy, noun. The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one's own behavior does not conform; pretense.

      You have gone out of your way to ignore to ignore the literal definition of hypocrisy. Your argument is that general GOP behavior conforms to an internal moral code is irrelevant to the discussion of hypocrisy, as hypocrisy is a comparison of public statement to personal behavior.

      IT's not about what we think a position is. Its about what they have publicly stated they position is. We can read between the lines and resolve the hypocrisy, but it is still hypocrisy.

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

      • identicon
        TFG, 12 May 2020 @ 3:19pm

        Re: Re: 'You can search anything you want, except our stuff.'

        I'm with the AC on this one, TOG. While I get that you're pointing out their real motivations, constantly saying "feature not a bug" or "they aren't hypocrites because this is what they really mean" undermines the criticism, at least in my view.

        They are hypocrites. The exact position you point that they have makes them hypocrites. It is certainly logically consistent with their motivations, but it only reinforces their hypocrisy.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 12 May 2020 @ 3:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: 'You can search anything you want, except our stuff.

          Fair point, I mixed up actual motivations and stated motivations, my goof on that one.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2020 @ 10:18am

    All their whining about the deep state was lies and they knew it, that is how they operate. Therefore it follows that reasons for their increased surveillance are also lies. No reason to believe anything this administration has to say.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2020 @ 12:24pm

    They meant a different Deep State.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2020 @ 2:57pm

    They already have a warrant for all of it. If competent investigations are done it leads back to cyber attacks and drug/human trafficking from asia like it has since Clinton.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 12 May 2020 @ 3:27pm

      Re:

      That's not how that works, at all. The fact that an investigation might be ongoing does not mean that any means aimed at furthering it are automatically given a pass, they still need to meet those pesky 'warrant requirements' if they want to engage in a search as those are particular, requiring specifics like what is to be searched, what is being searched for, and what evidence they have that they will find something.

      Not even going to bother with the conspiracy half beyond a 'cool story bro'.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 May 2020 @ 4:43pm

      Re:

      "it leads back to cyber attacks and drug/human trafficking from asia like it has since Clinton."

      Were they doing this from the basement of a pizza parlor?

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

  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 13 May 2020 @ 4:14pm

    Roll Call

    Here's the Roll Call on the amendment.

    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
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

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

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