Skip to comments.Video: NSA, White House getting worried about defunding vote in House
Posted on 07/24/2013 8:35:13 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
And they should. CBS reoprts that NSA Director Keith Alexander made an “emergency visit” to Capitol Hill to head off a potentially embarrassing vote to defund his agency’s trawling of phone and Internet records. House Republican leaders allowed a vote on an amendment by Rep. Justin Amash to use the power of the purse to rein in the NSA, and the panic shows that the effort might well succeed in the Senate when the budget comes to the upper chamber:
With a high-stakes showdown vote looming in the House, White House press secretary Jay Carney issued an unusual, nighttime statement on the eve of Wednesday’s vote. The measure by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., would cancel statutory authority for the secret program, a move that Carney contended would “hastily dismantle one of our intelligence community’s counterterrorism tools.”
Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, made a last-minute trip to Capitol Hill on Tuesday to urge lawmakers to reject the measure in separate, closed-door sessions with Republicans and Democrats. Seven Republican committee chairmen issued a similar plea in a widely circulated letter to their colleagues.
An unlikely coalition of libertarian-leaning conservatives and liberal Democrats says the program amounts to unfettered domestic spying on Americans. Amash and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., are the chief sponsors of an amendment that would end the ability of the NSA to collect phone records and metadata under the USA Patriot Act. Instead the agency would only be allowed to gather data on specific individuals under investigation, CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes reported on “CBS This Morning” Wednesday.
Amash said his measure tries to rein in the NSA’s blanket authority. Responding to the White House statement, the congressman tweeted late Tuesday:
Pres Obama opposes my #NSA amendment, but American people overwhelmingly support it. Will your Rep stand with the WH or the Constitution?
— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) July 24, 2013
Republican leaders allowed the House to consider Amash’s amendment to a $598.3 billion defense spending bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.
Amash seems to be on the popular side of this fight, at least according to the WaPo/ABC poll. Almost three-quarters of respondents think the NSA goes too far, and a plurality believe it doesn’t make the country any safer:
Nearly three-quarters of Americans say the NSA programs are infringing on some Americans privacy rights, and about half see those programs as encroaching on their own privacy. Most of those who see the programs as compromising privacy say the intrusions are unjustified.
The percentage of Americans who put a higher priority on privacy protections than the investigation of terrorist threats has more than doubled in a decade and has hit the highest point in any Post-ABC News poll dating back to summer 2002. Today, about four in 10 say it is more important to protect privacy even if that limits the governments ability to investigate possible terrorist threats.
Some of the discomfort stems from doubts that the programs are making the United States safer. Only 42 percent say the programs make the country safer. More, 47 percent, see the programs as making little difference in the countrys security. And 5 percent say they actually make the nation less safe.
The emergency meetings should have been with the American people, and with lawmakers to improve oversight. The series of rationalizations and term-parsing since the Snowden revelations hasn’t built confidence in the NSA’s protestations of integrity, especially after the way Alexander and DNI James Clapper have misled Congress in the past about these programs. For better or worse, they are reaping what they have sown.
This, in part, is the sort of thing our representatives in DC are supposed to be doing.
...and if they don’t, then the (working, taxpaying) people of the United States need to defund the government. Not that it would stop them, since they already spend more than we give ‘em. Oh, never mind.
The emergency meetings should have been with the American people, and with lawmakers to improve oversight.
How true, but they don’t really want real oversight or curbs on their data collection activities. IRS clearly needs more oversight as well.
In a democracy accountability is a neccsary and beneficial function.
The Folding Lawn Chair party will do what they do best: fold up before King Zero’s “awesomeness” (according to his propaganda arm - the “news” media), making them look even more stupid and Zero better than he really is (by far).
This would be a good start. There are a lot more things that shoul be defunded, including the IRS, Obamacare, the EPA, the Energy Department, the Education Department. The Air Force One flights and the vacation Obama fund.
I could go on for hours on what could be defunded we could cut back immensely on funding foreign countries that hate us.
If Conservatives are not real careful we are going to be supplanted by Libertarians as the Official Opposition to Big Government Socialists.
“...The Folding Lawn Chair party will do what they do best: fold up before King Zeros awesomeness....”
Exactly. These guys are not going to do anything that Zero doesn’t want. They are frozen in the NSA PRISM data mining because they’re all dirty other than a couple of them. We, in essence, have a one-party (communist) system now. All of this is just for show for the “unwashed masses”. King Zero rules supreme. He knows it, they know it and we know it. The “unwashed masses” still think they live in a free country...
I'd like to see a copy of this letter.
They’re worried Congress might try protecting our liberties.
LOL! CONgress is going to put some limits on NSA?
Not A Chance.
Information is a form of power and CONgress isn’t going to do anything that reduces their power. This is nothing but kabuki theater for the masses.
“In a democracy accountability is a necessary and beneficial function.”
And in an autocracy, truth and accountability are to be shunned.
“Theyre worried Congress might try protecting our liberties.”
Worried? They slept like babies last night without a worry in the world. They know CONgress is engaged in kabuki theater amounting to nothing.