Skip to main content

Seal of the National Security Agency
A bipartisan amendment to the defense authorization bill to curtail the NSA's surveillance power has been approved for a vote, possible as soon as Wednesday. The amendment, introduced by Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), co-sponsored by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) and over 30 other bipartisan members, would substantially curtail the NSA's domestic spying.

The amendment [pdf] basically defunds the NSA's dragnet collection of every bit of metadata on all phone records as well as other bulk records that have not yet been revealed. The amendment still would allow the NSA to collect information under the original intent—and understanding—of the law, that is information actually related to actual investigations.

The NSA and its supporters are, of course, fighting back. They've introduced a second amendment intended to peel support away from the Amash amendment. What this second amendment, from Rep. Richard Nugent (R-FL), does is to pretend that it will withhold funding for bulk collection, but it actually just reiterates what's already in the law, and it just reiterates the status quo.

Meanwhile, NSA chief Keith Alexander is lobbying House members in a
"top secret," "emergency" meeting to fight the Amash amendment.

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. "In advance of anticipated action on amendments to the DoD Appropriations bill, Ranking Member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of the House Intelligence Committee invites your Member to attend a question and answer session with General Keith B. Alexander of the National Security Agency," reads the invitation.

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 leveland will be strictly Members-Only," reads the invite.

So Alexander is personally lobbying, and making the meeting "top secret," to make all these members of Congress—whose law his agency has been shamelessly flouting—feel invested in the system and feel important. Despite the panic Alexander is trying to foment in the House, the Amash amendment would not curtail the NSA's ability to conduct surveillance within the bounds of existing law. Instead, it would try to force the agency to adhere to the law as it stands today.

This is the first vote, potentially as soon as Wednesday, the Congress is taking on the NSA's dragnet surveillance program. It's the first chance for members of Congress to tell the NSA to abide by existing law.

Please join with Daily Kos and RootsAction to urge your representative to vote in favor of the Amash amendment to begin curtailing the NSA domestic spying program.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Jul 23, 2013 at 11:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site