Amash Amendment to End NSA Program Will Get Vote

The Amash Amendment to end NSA's bulk electronic surveillance program will be voted on this week.

"The amendment would prevent the NSA, the FBI and other agencies from relying on Section 215 of the Patriot Act "to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215."">will get a vote, probably Thursday. Debate is expected late today.

The vote by itself will not restrict the surveillance, it would simply include Amash's amendment in the annual Defense appropriations bill, which the House is considering this week; the Senate must also approve the bill before it goes to President Obama's desk.

The House Intelligence Committee supports it, the House Judiciary Committee opposes it.

Go here and see how your rep is voting. Send them a tweet urging them to pass the Amendment

< No Money for Federal Defense But Costa Rica Gets New Computers | Amash Amendment on NSA Surveillance Fails >
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    The president opposes it, as well. (5.00 / 3) (#1)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 09:10:02 AM EST
    Reacting to a defense appropriations amendment sponsored by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) to curb the NSA's vast program of collecting and storing phone records, White House press secretary Jay Carney said, "We oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community's counterterrorism tools.

    "This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process," Carney continued in a statement.

    The White House rarely comments on an amendment before it reaches the floor of even one chamber of Congress. That, coupled with an emergency briefing NSA Director Keith Alexander held for members of Congress on Tuesday, appears to show that senior administration officials are seriously worried about the possibility of congressional action to stop the mass domestic surveillance.


    People can say what they will about Edward Snowden, but I don't believe this amendment exists, or the debate takes place, without his having exposed the extent and magnitude of these programs.

    The NSA is in full-court press:

    The National Security Agency has invited certain members of Congress to a top secret, invitation only meeting to discuss a proposed amendment that could end the NSA's ability to conduct dragnet surveillance on millions of Americans.

    A letter circulated only to select lawmakers early Tuesday announced that NSA Director General Keith B. Alexander would host a question and answer session with members of Congress in preparation of a Thursday vote on Capitol Hill expected to involve an amendment introduced last month by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan).

    This is some Democratic administration, isn't it?

    It probably won't get past (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jbindc on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 10:20:00 AM EST
    the Senate - the Democratically controlled Senate.

    So, it probably doesn't really matter if Obama likes it or not.


    I almost (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by Zorba on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 01:27:45 PM EST
    spit out my Diet Coke upon reading Carney's statement.
    "This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process."

    Really, Jay?  Really???  What kind of "informed, open, or deliberative process" was used before this sweeping surveillance of everyone was undertaken?
    I could never, ever be a White House press secretary or spokesperson of any kind.  I know it's his job, but I just could not go in front of the American public and spew this tripe.

    Close but no cigar (none / 0) (#14)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 06:35:48 PM EST
    The House rejected a measure to end the program's authority. The vote was 217-205 on Wednesday.

    Going out soon and sometimes have difficulty finding this info. If anyone sees a roll call on this vote, I would appreciate a link.


    Here you go, I think. (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Teresa on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 07:14:09 PM EST
    Thanks (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 09:38:54 PM EST
    Well, well, well (none / 0) (#19)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 09:44:19 PM EST
    My Rep. voted Yea against Obama's wishes. Doesn't happen often enough but glad to see his name in the "right" column this time.

    I'm surprised (none / 0) (#22)
    by sj on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 11:05:05 AM EST
    It was close. I expected it to be not only defeated but smashed. It needs to be continually proposed.

    Feds want Web firms' master encryption keys (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Mr Natural on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 03:02:04 PM EST
    The U.S. government has attempted to obtain the master encryption keys that Internet companies use to shield millions of users' private Web communications from eavesdropping. These demands for master encryption keys, which have not been disclosed previously, represent a technological escalation in the clandestine methods that the FBI and the National Security Agency employ when conducting electronic surveillance against Internet users.

    "The government is definitely demanding SSL keys from providers," said one person who has responded to government attempts to obtain encryption keys. The source spoke with CNET on condition of anonymity.

    The leak is on (none / 0) (#21)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 10:33:44 AM EST
    I remember in early Snowden he made comment that he hoped he would empower others on the front lines of this  to talk about the disturbing.  It would seem he has somewhat done that.

    Double the Defense Industry Cash for (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Mr Natural on Sat Jul 27, 2013 at 11:18:37 AM EST
    Lawmakers Who Voted to Uphold NSA Phone Spying.

    The numbers tell the story -- in votes and dollars. On Wednesday, the house voted 217 to 205 not to rein in the NSA's phone-spying dragnet. It turns out that those 217 "no" voters received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 "yes" voters.

    Originally (none / 0) (#2)
    by Semanticleo on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 09:41:56 AM EST
    It was to de-fund NSA, and I didn't think that would make it to vote.
    So, the dilution makes for a likely vote.  They seem serious about doing something to keep their jobs, but it's hard to focus when you first arise from slumber.

    Well, it is about funding... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 10:03:41 AM EST
    From EFF:

    Reps. Justin Amash, John Conyers, Jr., Thomas Massie, Mick Mulvaney, and Jared Polis are proposing an amendment that would curtail funding for the implementation of orders under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act unless the order is expliticly limited in scope.

    That limitation reads as follows:

    This Order limits the collection of any tangible things (including telephone numbers dialed, telephone numbers of incoming calls, and the duration of calls) that may be authorized to be collected pursuant to this Order to those tangible things that pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation described in section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861).

    I got the impression (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Semanticleo on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 10:29:43 AM EST
    they really wanted to impress us with their seriousness by cutting all funding to NSA as a ruse.  They knew it wouldn't get anywhere.

    I agree the Senate will probably stuff it if it reaches their shores, but at least this is something that has a chance greater than a snowball in hell.


    Conyer's - redirecting focus to things that matter (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by MO Blue on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 11:39:14 AM EST
    It is unfortunate that so much of Congress and the media's focus is on the whereabouts of Edward Snowden. We should focus our time and attention on ensuring that law-abiding Americans are not unnecessarily subject to intrusive surveillance; making sure our media organizations are not targeted merely for informing the public; closing Guantanamo and releasing those individuals who pose us no harm; and demanding that legal safeguards are in place with respect to our government's shortsighted use of drones. These are the overriding, critical issues facing the Congress, not the whereabouts or motives of Edward Snowden.

    Revelations over the last several weeks by Edward Snowden and others make clear that our nation is at a crossroads. The so-called `War on Terror' exerts severe and undue pressure on our privacy, due process, and respect for a free press. Congress must choose how to respond, not to Edward Snowden, but to the strain that this never-ending war has placed on our principles and our laws. link

    I agree with Conyers.


    And so do I (none / 0) (#9)
    by Zorba on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 01:29:20 PM EST

    The whole damned mess (5.00 / 2) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 04:56:13 PM EST
    That has become the NSA is all about over funding in my mind.  It's like giant revolving doors and flashy useless buildings that make quality of life not even a tiny bit better for anyone who really really needs an improvement in that department.  Fund it, and they will come and do all sorts of useless often demoralizing stuff at this point.

    The wasteful spending (none / 0) (#6)
    by Visteo1 on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 11:05:40 AM EST
    is what irks me.  

    I have long been under the (apparently false) impression that whenever I communicated key words, like "bomb" or "assasination" or when I went to certain websites likely to be visited by someone with bad intentions; my communications would be flagged for review.

    I actually had a false sense of security from this belief.

    If the giant infrastructure created in the wake of 911 is only gathering the small tidbit of information that I am hearing about...we all need to be concerned about the value we are receiving.

    If you are concerned about your communications being monitored, talk face to face; I am sure that is how terrorist operatives do it.  

    Please do not misinterpret my words...I do agree that court orders should be obtained to review/listen to anyone's communication.

    You were under the impression that (5.00 / 4) (#12)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 05:03:11 PM EST
    communicating key words would flag you for surveillance, and it made you feel secure?

    I think we have a different definition of the word secure.


    Secure in threats against our government (none / 0) (#13)
    by Visteo1 on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 05:53:12 PM EST
    our institutions and the general public from those that would do harm...absolutely.  I have lost that sense of security.  

    If the government operates within the law, I have no problems...change the law you don't like.

    If you think your communications are secure, you would be mistaken. It is not the government I fear most.  It is private individuals that scare me...  

    ...It is the hacker that wants your identity
    ...It is the internet stalker watching your childs public activity.
    ...It is the person that calls you telling you your bank account has been compromised, "can I have your mother's maiden name please?"
    ...and on and on.

    Did you see the now famous footage and audio from a 7-11 in Sanford?

    Have you heard about the Kwame text messages?

    Google just snatched this public post for their own private disemination and use.

    I'm careful about what I said. Visteo is not my real name.  Are you really Ruffian?

    I want the government to do a better job protecting my communications from the public sector.

    I don't mean to come across harsh and value your opinion.  Please share your point of view on secure communications.



    The government can do me more harm than hackers. (5.00 / 5) (#16)
    by ruffian on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 07:15:52 PM EST
    Hackers can only steal my possessions. The government can lock me up by mistake. They can send me someplace to be tortured based on faulty assumptions based on connections they make from my email or other data.

    If they don't have better ways to catch bad guys than the mass, indiscriminate collection of data, we are not secure at all.


    IMO both are threats (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by ZtoA on Wed Jul 24, 2013 at 07:43:24 PM EST
    but the young facebook kids are not phased. Its us older folks who feel privacy slipping away that feel it.

    I agree that is a scary scenario. (none / 0) (#20)
    by Visteo1 on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 10:17:43 AM EST
    We need to be sure our government will not torture ANYONE regardless of the evidence.  If the government wants to lock you up, they will and they don't need your communications to do so.  I believe with a proper warrant they WILL legally access your communications.

    This massive build-up in intelligence is not a secret.  WHAT they do is a secret.  911 let them go overboard with the spending.  It is time to take a closer look at what all that spending has done for us...and STOP it without a solid argument for it to continue.  A couple thwarted terrorist plots plays on our fears.  Imagine spending thousands on gaurd rails to stop several traffic deaths.  Are we justified spending  billions to save the same number of people from  terrorists?  Unfortunately, terrorism plays on our fears as intended.


    It's not about money, in the sense that (5.00 / 3) (#23)
    by Anne on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 11:27:10 AM EST
    we don't have it.  The money aspect of this is more about the fact that a lot of security/defense sector contractors, as well as industry lobbyists, are making oceans of it off the security state we're building.  They can't build something this big and this intrusive without playing fast and loose with the law.  

    What is happening in this sector is the equivalent of what the financial industry did when it realized how much money there was to be made in creating financial products that carried huge risks, huge opportunities for fraud, threw the economy all out of whack - but which made huge amounts of money for those in the industry.  They ignored regulations, worked their asses off to weaken what regulations there were, and so overwhelmed the oversight process that there was no chance of getting control of it.  And even after it blew up, what few regulatory remedies that managed to get through the Congress have already been significantly weakened - and we're back to cheering the successes of the stock market.

    This is about that kind of money, that kind of power and that kind of arrogance. This time, the victim is our right to any semblance of privacy. With it is the significant erosion of any number of rights and protections, all in service to the unlimited and unmitigated ego and arrogance of those in power who have no intention of letting go of one bit of that power.

    We have the money - we always have the money to do what those in power want to do; if that meshes with what we, the people, want - great - if not, well, what are we gonna do about it?  

    The Amash Amendment wasn't about wasteful spending; it was about choking off the money supply in order to end just one aspect of the invasion of our privacy.

    And nobody fks with the money supply.


    I agree with what you said, Anne. (none / 0) (#24)
    by Visteo1 on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 01:39:48 PM EST
    In the civilian world, money is thrown somewhat recklessly at an urgent issue.  After the immediacy of the issue is addressed, a look is taken to cut the costs of the solution.

    With fear the driving force it will be difficult to fairly address the value of this new government industry.

    Amash is probably but a pimple on the butt of the spending.  Now that this aspect of spying is known by those who would do us harm...it is no longer a useful tool.  It may have even been a cost effective tool...bet nobody can say what the dollar cost was or is; anymore than someone can show what the loss was to our civil liberties.

    Maybe if I had jumped at invitations to join a militia or the KKK, I would feel threatened by the activities addressed in AMASH.  


    And if I have been unknowingly (none / 0) (#25)
    by Visteo1 on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 01:47:33 PM EST
    communicating with someone in Al Qaeda, I HOPE they check me out!  And read ONLY those communications as a Judge sees fit.  

    What's That Poem? (none / 0) (#26)
    by squeaky on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 01:54:44 PM EST
    First they came for those who mentioned KKK,

    I stood in silence

    then they came for those who mentioned joining
    a militia,

    I stood in silence.

    then they came for those who wrote the word
    al qaida,

    I stood in silence.

    Then they came for those who wrote the word

    I stood in silence.

    Then they came for those who wrote down with
    the president.

    I stood in silence.

    Then they came for those who wrote about protest.

    I stood in silence.

    Then they came for me.

    And there was no one left to speak for me.


    Poems (none / 0) (#27)
    by Visteo1 on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 02:41:33 PM EST
    We wrote about ropes,
    but their hands were tied,
    and we got away clean.

    We chatted about the ingredients,
    but nobody knew,
    the building came down Whoo Hooo!

    We texted our intentions,
    No need to talk face to face,
    Our bullet struck clean, he was our ace!

    Screw that protest,
    We need a riot, I wrote.
    We all got nice things, Johnny claims he stole a boat!

    The posecuter was under such pressure,
    Must have been the chants from the crowd,
    They pinned on squeaky.
    "We got away clean!" we did shout.