Proposal to restrict NSA phone-tracking program narrowly defeated

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.

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2 thoughts on “Proposal to restrict NSA phone-tracking program narrowly defeated

  1. Norman

    Symbolically the NSA & the White house got kicked in the balls, should be telling, but let’s hope that in the days to come, the brakes will be applied in no uncertain fashion, as to halt this travesty to continue. I can’t fathom how any sane person can except that the population of the U.S.A. is a potential terrorist threat, while the snoopers are exempt. Also telling, is the contempt that the White house has for every citizen as well as immigrants too, that they would endorse the program. Where the hell is Superman when we need him to clean house and get rid of this rot?

  2. delia ruhe

    Point well taken, Norman, but I would caution the call for Superman. In the turmoil that was the politics of the Weimar Republic, enough Germans turned to a seeming superman to solve the “problem” of democracy. They got him.

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