NSA Holds “Top Secret” Meeting to Stop Powerful Anti-Spying Amendment

In case you aren’t aware, there is a very significant amendment set for a vote in the House of Representatives tomorrow. The amendment was authored by libertarian-Republican of Michigan Justin Amash, and it is to be attached to the Defense Appropriations Bill (which provides funding for the NSA). It is a bipartisan amendment, co-sponsored by Michigan Democrat John Conyers, and it would remove funding for NSA programs using the Patriot Act for blanket collection of phone records and metadata from phone service providers. Here is a summary as it appears on the House of Representatives website:

Ends authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. Bars the NSA and other agencies from using 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.

The amendment’s supporters have even set up a web page dedicated to spreading the word and I strongly suggest you check it out at www.defundthensa.com 

While I know many people will tend to dismiss such amendments by saying “it doesn’t matter,” I would say that if it “doesn’t matter” then why did NSA chief Keith Alexander hold a secret meeting today to lobby against it? Because it matters. From the Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency called for a “top secret” meeting with members of the House on Tuesday to lobby against the first House amendment to challenge the agency’s authority to cull broad swaths of communications data, according to an invitation circulated in Congress.

NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander scheduled a last-minute, members-only briefing in response to the amendment, according to an invitation distributed to members of Congress this morning and forwarded to HuffPost.

The invitation warned members that they could not share what they learned with their constituents or others. “The briefing will be held at the Top Secret/SCI level and will be strictly Members-Only,” reads the invite.

The intelligence community has claimed that the law is useful in thwarting potential terrorist incidents.

But Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee with access to classified details about the program, said there is no evidence that the data collection had been directly responsible for stopping any single plot. Civil libertarians, meanwhile, are aghast at the NSA’s broad interpretation of the law, and even the bill’s author said he was surprised at how it is being used.

The amendment could draw support from both Democrats and Republicans. Just how much is uncertain — this is the House’s first up-or-down vote on the NSA’s domestic surveillance activities since Snowden made his revelations.

Even if the amendment doesn’t pass, an up or down vote will expose everyone’s representative as either a friend of freedom or an agent of fascism…and that’s important.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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  1. Senator Wyden: the US could become an irreversible surveillance state

    Senator Ron Wyden (D, OR) offered a grim outlook on civil liberties today in a speech at the Center for American Progress, warning US citizens that they will “live to regret” inaction on surveillance reform. Wyden, one of the leading Congressional critics of domestic spying programs, railed against the controversial legal provisions that have enabled surveillance efforts like the Associational Tracking Program: a massive telephone metadata dragnet that collects information about every call placed in the United States. Wyden challenged the government’s authority and discretion to conduct broad surveillance on innocent US citizens, and urged both the public and his colleagues to take action.

    “The combination of increasingly advanced technology with a breakdown in the checks and balances that limit government action could lead us to a surveillance state that cannot be reversed,” Wyden said. “What happens to our government, our civil liberties, and our basic democracy if the surveillance state is allowed to grow unchecked?”


  2. Thanks, Mike, this is the fight (the ‘river of no return’).

    Good comment, Rich.

    Paul Craig Roberts has written extensively and vigorously on these issues:

  3. The secret meeting is Alexander putting the irons to the house members. The secrecy and top secret clearance for the meeting is all for show to get the house members real scared.

    Like any good gumba Alexander doesn’t want them talking to anyone about it especially when he’s threatening them. Have you seen this Alexander guy speak? He’s a punk ass pussy. Remove his “suit” and he’s just another joe walking down the street that no one would give the time of day. And then we have Mr. Claptrap whose the dir. of nat. intelligence and I’m wondering why it’s all pussies heading these organizations. Because they are yes men and do whatever they are told. You can tell they have no spine at all in them. Here’s the script and go and regurgitate it. They do that job real good.

    Rumsfeld appointed him as dir. of the NSA. You know he’s part of the boy’s club if 1, he’s dir. of anything in Washington and 2, Rumsfeld gave him the nod. That would never happen unless he’s a yes man. Yes, yes, yes to whatever the criminals tell him to do.

    One thing is for sure, he certainly doesn’t work for the American citizens.

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