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House Defeats Effort to Rein In N.S.A. Data Gathering

TacticalEvilDan

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Kinda surprised this didn't show up already:

WASHINGTON — A deeply divided House defeated legislation Wednesday that would have blocked the National Security Agency from collecting vast amounts of phone records, handing the Obama administration a hard-fought victory in the first Congressional showdown over the N.S.A.’s surveillance activities since Edward J. Snowden’s security breaches last month.

The 205-to-217 vote was far closer than expected and came after a brief but impassioned debate over citizens’ right to privacy and the steps the government must take to protect national security. It was a rare instance in which a classified intelligence program was openly discussed on the House floor, and disagreements over the program led to some unusual coalitions.


Conservative Republicans leery of what they see as Obama administration abuses of power teamed up with liberal Democrats long opposed to intrusive intelligence programs. The Obama administration made common cause with the House Republican leadership to try to block it.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/25/u...ffort-to-rein-in-nsa-data-gathering.html?_r=0

Some notes of note:

1. This vote shattered party lines.
2. The vote was the product of an amendment offered by Justin Amash, a new Republican who genuinely opposed big government (a rarity these days) and uses his Facebook page to explain each and every vote he takes.

Amash and I disagree frequently, but if he ran in my district I'd vote for him every time, no matter who ran against him. He is principled and transparent. You never need to wonder how he'll vote on something, he'll tell you how and why.

If your Representative voted "no" to this amendment, you would be wise to consider delivering them a message at the ballot box next year:

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll412.xml

Mine did, but I was planning on voting for his opposition next time no matter what, anyhow -- Finger Vote 2014.
 

Fisher

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I would have voted no, but I would consider future bills with some concrete parameters on how long data can be saved and no eavesdropping without a warrant.
 

Deuce

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Bachmann voted for big government. How shocking.
 

Captain Adverse

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Kinda surprised this didn't show up already:



http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/25/u...ffort-to-rein-in-nsa-data-gathering.html?_r=0

Some notes of note:

1. This vote shattered party lines.
2. The vote was the product of an amendment offered by Justin Amash, a new Republican who genuinely opposed big government (a rarity these days) and uses his Facebook page to explain each and every vote he takes.

Amash and I disagree frequently, but if he ran in my district I'd vote for him every time, no matter who ran against him. He is principled and transparent. You never need to wonder how he'll vote on something, he'll tell you how and why.

If your Representative voted "no" to this amendment, you would be wise to consider delivering them a message at the ballot box next year:

http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll412.xml

Mine did, but I was planning on voting for his opposition next time no matter what, anyhow -- Finger Vote 2014.
Mine also voted no, but she's a big-government anti-gun advocate too so I intend to vote for her oposition also.
 

Jack Fabulous

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The fact that they are "allowed" to gather data like they are isn't as big of a problem as the fact that, because they are "allowed" to, they keep pumping money and resources into technology that will enable them to continue to improve the methods to gather it. Look at the capabilities they have right at this moment. Does anyone really believe that 20 years from now they will not have technology at their disposal that will make what they are using to day look primitive?

They will continue to develop more efficient and more invasive ways to gather data as long as we let them.
 

notquiteright

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Not sure if it shattered party lines as much as it shattered the GOP. A Republican put the amendment up and his Leadership worked very hard to defeat it. More Republicans voted AGAINST their own member than Democrats. This does make it difficult for the GOP to use 'government run amuck or '1984'' slogans in 2014. Does give an opening to the TP to upset loyal GOP reps who voted for 'big brother is watching'.

This vote does give a bit of cover to the dems who voted for the amendment- they can claim they are as shocked and appalled as everyone else at the NSA- and Obama gets to keep on truckin'. :peace
 

Paschendale

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Interesting that the "party of small government" was far more in support of this. A Republican controlled house didn't pass this, and more Democrats voted to stop NSA spying than Republicans. Keep telling us how the Republican party is protecting the people from big government.
 

jamesrage

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Its a shame that anyone voted against this.
 

Dittohead not!

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Mine voted for it.

Maybe I'll vote for him in the next election after all, even though he is an incumbent. I haven't decided yet.
 

Jango

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Couple of things. Do the politicians that vote against the N.S.A. become targeted now? And, it is damn shameful that the people elected into office cannot recognize something that needs to go. Who knows, maybe they're afraid to vote against the system, or think that they're unaffected by the process.
 

JRSaindo

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I would have voted no, but I would consider future bills with some concrete parameters on how long data can be saved and no eavesdropping without a warrant.
For ev er. Why do you think they are building a huge data center in Utah? The train started. Even if congress votes on ending it, it won't end. Just imagine the plethora of programs the gov't acronyms have that we don't know about? The fact you think collecting data on US citizens is OK frightens me. "Give them an inch, and they take a mile" goes hand in hand with gov't agencies and skirting around rules/regulations.
 

Fisher

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For ev er. Why do you think they are building a huge data center in Utah? The train started. Even if congress votes on ending it, it won't end. Just imagine the plethora of programs the gov't acronyms have that we don't know about? The fact you think collecting data on US citizens is OK frightens me. "Give them an inch, and they take a mile" goes hand in hand with gov't agencies and skirting around rules/regulations.

Google and facebook probably know far more about people than the government does.
 

JRSaindo

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They keep data for 5 years unless its evidence, then they keep it indefinitely. But with this new data center that should be finished this year, and lack of actions from Congress, who knows.

They get their data from anything digital. They can intercept anything from anyone they want. Google searches, personal emails, purchases, etc. etc. Sure, things can be encrypted, but I'm sure they have some smart programmers that can get around most of it, or they get the encryption keys outright. It first started as a foreign data collection program, but now its all out invasion of privacy on all US citizens within 4 or 5 "hops" from a suspect they are tracking. A hop being someone who knows the suspect or previous hop.

This explains a lot of it in detail: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1
 
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TacticalEvilDan

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Google and facebook probably know far more about people than the government does.
The problem with the Utah center isn't about what's out there, it's about access, retention and analysis. There's no way the government should have its hands on that much data without so much as a vague residue of probable cause.
 

Drake McHugh

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My congressman,Jim Sensenbrenner gave a pretty good speech in favor of the Amash amendment. I thought if someone like him,who is in no way a libertarian or "wacko bird" supported it,it would pass. Thought it was interesting that both Pelosi and Bachmann voted against,while Trey Gowdy and Conyers voted for it. Strange bedfellows.
 

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I'm thankful my rep voted for it. Not surprised that establishment thugs like Pelosi and Bachmann voted against it.


"In reality, the fate of the amendment was sealed when the Obama White House on Monday night announced its vehement opposition to it, and then sent NSA officials to the House to scare members that barring the NSA from collecting all phone records of all Americans would Help The Terrorists™.

Using Orwellian language so extreme as to be darkly hilarious, this was the first line of the White House's statement opposing the amendment: "In light of the recent unauthorized disclosures, the President has said that he welcomes a debate about how best to simultaneously safeguard both our national security and the privacy of our citizens" (i.e.: we welcome the debate that has been exclusively enabled by that vile traitor, the same debate we've spent years trying to prevent with rampant abuse of our secrecy powers that has kept even the most basic facts about our spying activities concealed from the American people).

The White House then condemned Amash/Conyers this way: "This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process." What a multi-level masterpiece of Orwellian political deceit that sentence is. The highly surgical Amash/Conyers amendment - which would eliminate a single, specific NSA program of indiscriminate domestic spying - is a "blunt approach", but the Obama NSA's bulk, indiscriminate collection of all Americans' telephone records is not a "blunt approach". Even worse: Amash/Conyers - a House bill debated in public and then voted on in public - is not an "open or deliberative process", as opposed to the Obama administration's secret spying activities and the secret court that blesses its secret interpretations of law, which is "open and deliberative". That anyone can write a statement like the one that came from the Obama White House without dying of shame, or giggles, is impressive."

http://http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/25/democratic-establishment-nsa
 

American

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To bad we can't actually see the amendment. I find it puzzling that the votes went the way they did.
 

Dittohead not!

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I'm thankful my rep voted for it. Not surprised that establishment thugs like Pelosi and Bachmann voted against it.


"In reality, the fate of the amendment was sealed when the Obama White House on Monday night announced its vehement opposition to it, and then sent NSA officials to the House to scare members that barring the NSA from collecting all phone records of all Americans would Help The Terrorists™.

Using Orwellian language so extreme as to be darkly hilarious, this was the first line of the White House's statement opposing the amendment: "In light of the recent unauthorized disclosures, the President has said that he welcomes a debate about how best to simultaneously safeguard both our national security and the privacy of our citizens" (i.e.: we welcome the debate that has been exclusively enabled by that vile traitor, the same debate we've spent years trying to prevent with rampant abuse of our secrecy powers that has kept even the most basic facts about our spying activities concealed from the American people).

The White House then condemned Amash/Conyers this way: "This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process." What a multi-level masterpiece of Orwellian political deceit that sentence is. The highly surgical Amash/Conyers amendment - which would eliminate a single, specific NSA program of indiscriminate domestic spying - is a "blunt approach", but the Obama NSA's bulk, indiscriminate collection of all Americans' telephone records is not a "blunt approach". Even worse: Amash/Conyers - a House bill debated in public and then voted on in public - is not an "open or deliberative process", as opposed to the Obama administration's secret spying activities and the secret court that blesses its secret interpretations of law, which is "open and deliberative". That anyone can write a statement like the one that came from the Obama White House without dying of shame, or giggles, is impressive."

http://http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/25/democratic-establishment-nsa
The White House is betting that Americans are still willing to trade liberty for the illusion of security. So far, their betting track record has been pretty good.
 

FederalRepublic

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Google and facebook probably know far more about people than the government does.
Not sure how that's possible. I suspect they already know everything that google and facebook knows. They woke up and had breakfast together this morning.
 

Dittohead not!

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Not sure how that's possible. I suspect they already know everything that google and facebook knows. They woke up and had breakfast together this morning.
OMG! They spent the whole night together? The relationship is getting serious. When do they move in together?
 

Fisher

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Not sure how that's possible. I suspect they already know everything that google and facebook knows. They woke up and had breakfast together this morning.
Because they operate off different models. The government wants to know if you are a terrorist while google and facebook have figured out what kind of underwear people prefer so they can sell advertising for it to you.
 

TacticalEvilDan

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The White House then condemned Amash/Conyers this way: "This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process." What a multi-level masterpiece of Orwellian political deceit that sentence is. The highly surgical Amash/Conyers amendment - which would eliminate a single, specific NSA program of indiscriminate domestic spying - is a "blunt approach", but the Obama NSA's bulk, indiscriminate collection of all Americans' telephone records is not a "blunt approach". Even worse: Amash/Conyers - a House bill debated in public and then voted on in public - is not an "open or deliberative process", as opposed to the Obama administration's secret spying activities and the secret court that blesses its secret interpretations of law, which is "open and deliberative". That anyone can write a statement like the one that came from the Obama White House without dying of shame, or giggles, is impressive."
So it was okay for the President to do what he did without an informed, open or deliberative process, but he wants the House to get his permission before it exercises it's Constitutionally enshrined authority?

Absurd.
 

Drake McHugh

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I have a feeling eventually something similar to the Amash/Conyers Amdt. will happen. Most of the newer GOP members are more libertarian leaning,plus you have other borderline members who will find it's popular.
 
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