Amash Amendment on NSA Surveillance Fails

The House rejected the Amash Amendment to block funding for NSA's mass warrantless surveillance program.

The measure was narrowly defeated, 205-217, after last-minute lobbying by the Obama administration and House members on the intelligence panel, who said the program was crucial to national security.

The measure, from Rep. Justin Amash (R., Mich.), would have blocked funding for the National Security Agency to collect phone records unless they pertained to a particular person under investigation. The program came to public attention due to disclosures by Edward Snowden, the former NSA employee who recently released details of two classified programs.

Republicans with libertarian leanings joined with liberal Democrats in voting for the Amendment, but it wasn't enough. I, for one, sincerely appreciate their efforts.

< Amash Amendment to End NSA Program Will Get Vote | Thursday Open Thread >
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    Democratic House Leadership (5.00 / 7) (#1)
    by bmaz on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 08:29:59 PM EST
    Carries the collar for this defeat. They unconscionably carried the White House water.

    I agree wholeheartedly. (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by shoephone on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 09:17:55 PM EST
    They only needed seven more "yea" votes to pass it. When I see that WA State Democrats Denny Heck and Adam Smith (whose district became a whole lot more liberal than it was prior to 2012) voted in opposition, I feel sick. The !national security! excuses for privacy abuses must be challenged.
    At least the vote was close. I hope Amash and Conyers will try again.

    Maxwell Smart: "Missed it by that much!"


    Indefensible and unconscionable. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 10:01:04 PM EST
    Not much consolation in my Rep (Elijah Cummings) voting for the amendment, but at least he got it right.

    Forgive my ignorance but, (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by AmericanPsycho on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 09:29:12 PM EST
    how would would defunding accomplish anything?  The NSA computers will still be humming along doing plenty of other surveillance. It seems like the only way to stop what they're doing is pull the plug (literally).

    No, it was.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by bmaz on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 09:40:54 PM EST
    ... for a specific type of collection. I was a legitimate curb.

    My very conservative (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 09:49:24 PM EST
    seat-for-life Cong. John Duncan voted with the 205. I have to respect his consistency, even if I disagree with him on most things.

    He was one of only six R's in the House to vote against the War in Iraq. He took a lot of flack here for that one.

    My supposedly liberal (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jbsnyder on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 07:09:45 AM EST
    Congressman was with the noes.  So was the even more liberal one from just south of where I live.  Not surprising, as Obama campaigned for both of them, but it's still depressing.

    All four of Oregon's Democratic (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by caseyOR on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 10:39:45 PM EST
    congresspeople voted for the Amash amendment. Our lone Republican, Greg Walden, voted against it.

    Walden is a member of the House GOP leadership. It looks like the powers that be aligned with Obama regardless of party affiliation.

    WSWS on defeat of constraints on domestic spying (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Andreas on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 07:20:12 AM EST
    The WSWS writes:

    As usual, defenders of the surveillance program argued that it was necessary because the government was "at war with terrorism."

    These statements are made even as the US prepares to more directly arm the opposition in Syria, which is dominated by Islamist forces associated with Al Qaeda. They follow, moreover, revelations that the US is spying on governments all over the world, including those of nominal allies such as Germany and France.

    The "war on terror" has for more than a decade served as a pretext for wars abroad and the abrogation of core democratic rights within the United States.

    The real target of the surveillance is the American and international working class, a fact that is made clear by the nature of the programs. The Big Brother spying is part of the preparation of the American ruling class for mass social opposition.

    After White House intervention, House defeats constraints on domestic spying
    By Thomas Gaist, 25 July 2013

    Guess my little bro still has a job (none / 0) (#10)
    by Dadler on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 10:41:58 AM EST
    He works for the NSA now, spying in some form or another, as far as I can glean from family members who are closer to him and manage to get tiny bits of quasi-info every once in awhile. But I'd rather my bro were a bricklayer right now.

    All I know is the amount of dirty talk being warehoused by the government must be astronomical, as big as God's crank. (link)

    Seriously (none / 0) (#11)
    by bmaz on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 12:20:25 PM EST
    If they are storing internet, the porn data and metadata must be astronomical.

    Ha! (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jbindc on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 12:32:31 PM EST
    I do doc review for a living.  It's amazing in this day and age what people STILL send on their WORK emails. (I can't imagine the stuff that's on their personal computers).

    I've seen emails where affairs were discussed in detail, seen people's personal financial information, their medical information, pictures of their kids, their SSN's, TONS of pron, jokes, etc.  Even had a guy who was buying alpacas and we got to see the plans (and pictures) of the alpaca farm!

    (Admittedly, this is much more interesting stuff to look at than just business stuff to see if it's repsonsive to a subpoena or for litigation).

    But people!  Please take care of what you email on your work computer at least!


    A cache of personal info (none / 0) (#14)
    by christinep on Sun Jul 28, 2013 at 04:06:15 PM EST
    In a deposition setting once that involved a major water pollution matter, I lost a skirmish to keep confidential some personal comments written by a would-be hotshot engineer on a file document.  Indeed, it was a very witty, inventive bit of doggerel ... the judge didn't laugh ... and, the engineer learned something that day.

    This whole thing about blurring personal & work on recorded transmittals ... especially when some individuals seem astounded anew that whatever is put out there can show up anywhere.  For instance: A young attorney in my group strongly believed that particular file info with negative personal comments could be withheld from discovery as a form of attorney work product.  Hoo, hah ... what Mr. Naïve soon discovered himself is that anything written/recorded can appear in the news.  A summary of the document in that high-profile case somehow turned up on the front page of our major metro newspaper.  He also learned.

    Summary:  'Guess I'm old-fashioned, but one of my favorite phrases for those lapsing into such foolish oblivion is "Use your head."  Whither common sense!?!


    Yeah... (none / 0) (#13)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 03:06:36 PM EST
    ...I am sure Obama would sign the defunding of the program he loves and claims is no big deal.

    I am shocked by the numbers, that at least gives me some hope.   I also hope the 'no' votes have to explain their vote come election time.