The Washington Post reports: A controversial proposal to restrict how the National Security Agency collects Americans’ telephone records failed to advance in the House by a narrow margin Wednesday, a victory for the Obama administration, which has spent weeks defending the program.
Lawmakers voted 217 to 205 to defeat the proposal from an unlikely coalition of liberal and conservative members. Those lawmakers had joined forces in response to revelations by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, that the agency has collected the phone records of millions of Americans — a practice that critics say goes beyond the kind of collection that has been authorized by Congress.
The plan, sponsored by Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), would have restricted the collection of the records, known as metadata, only when there was a connection to relevant ongoing investigations. It also would have required that secret opinions from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court be made available to lawmakers and that the court publish summaries of each opinion for public review.
Conyers said the proposal “would curtail the ongoing dragnet collection and storage of the personal records of innocent Americans.”
There was little indication that a similar measure would have momentum in the Senate, and the Obama administration made clear that it would veto any such proposal. But the ability of Amash and Conyers to bring the measure to the House floor as an amendment to a Defense Department appropriations bill — and their ability to get more than 200 votes in their favor — was a testament to lawmakers’ growing concerns over the NSA’s bulk collection of data.
A “controversial proposal” supported by “an unlikely coalition” — the journalists who pump out this servile crap are an embarrassment to America.
How about instead noting the fact that even in a Congress which is itself enslaved to the god of national security, there were enough dissenters, that symbolically at least, both the NSA and the White House got a kick in the balls? I know, the Washington Post would not phrase it exactly that way, but the point is not that the amendment got defeated; it is that it almost passed.