Skip to main content

House Passes Restraints on Bulk Data Collection
By JONATHAN WEISMAN and CHARLIE SAVAGE, May 22, 2014, The New York Times

WASHINGTON — In a rare moment of bipartisan agreement between the White House and Congress on a major national security issue, the House passed legislation on Thursday that aims to end the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records program that had prompted intense domestic debate about privacy and civil liberties.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!! Hang the banner!



You have to get to the end of the fourth paragraph before there is even this so-milquetoast-that-it's-a-lie-too understatement:

leaving some civil liberties groups to say that efforts at change had been weakened.
What's a citizen to do? Take the word of the "paper of record" on its face? Especially when it comes to the headline?

Hell no! Go to an unfiltered preeminent reporter and commentator on this issue:

Why USA Freedumber Doesn’t End (What You and I Think of as) Bulk Collection
By emptywheel, May 22, 2014
  • The bill uses the intelligence community definition of bulk collection in its claim to end bulk collection, not the plain English language meaning of it
  • The bill retains the “relevant to” language that got us into this problem
  • The “selection terms” it uses to prevent bulk collection would permit the collection of vast swaths of innocent people’s records
  • Such a reading would probably not rely on any new FISA Court opinion; existing opinions probably already authorize such collection
Heck, if you have to, go to the same Charlie Savage at the NYT from just two days ago:
Changes to Surveillance Bill Stoke Anger
By CHARLIE SAVAGE, May 20, 2014, The New York Times
Given that the NSA and the rest of the United States's intelligence and law enforcement apparatus has a track record, proven many times over, of going beyond even maximalist interpretations of legal authority, the "USA FREEDOM Act," H.R. 3361, is a joke upon all of us.

And it's not even legal authority in the first place. The Fourth Amendment is quite clear:

United States Constitution, Amendment 4
Ratified 1791

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

That means no bulk collection, period. And get a damn warrant. No make-believe "national security letters," either.

That would be the

Uniting and
America by

Rights and
Dragnet collection, and


following in the unholy tradition of the
Uniting and
America by

Required to
Intercept and

Act of 2001

The American Civil Liberties Union keeps hope alive for improvements to the bill:
House Passes NSA Bill
May 22, 2014, ACLU
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is less sanguine:
EFF Dismayed by House's Gutted USA FREEDOM Act
And then:
USA Freedom Act: Oh, Well. Whatever. Nevermind.
By Jennifer Granick, May 21, 2014, Just Security

Reformers are still reluctant to openly oppose USA Freedom. That’s partially because of the specter of the House Intelligence Committee bill, the FISA Transparency and Modernization Act, which would expand surveillance under the mantle of reform. Privacy groups seem whipsawed between the pale appearance of surveillance reform that is USA Freedom and the actual surveillance expansion that is the Intel bill.

Its also partially due to assurances from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) and others that the Senate will work to improve the current version of USA Freedom to give the definition of “specific selection term” real meaning and to include amendments to limit dragnet collection provisions under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act.

Reformers have the summer to put the pressure on [...]

Please ask your senator to vote down this heinous act and to let the similarly heinous USA PATRIOT Act expire.
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

  •  HR 3361 also extends the Patriot Act... (13+ / 0-) another two years, to 2017, without any debate, whatsoever.

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Thu May 22, 2014 at 11:15:00 PM PDT

  •  Because it's the NYTs, other news outlets... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    run with the story, making the lie seem even more legit.

    The Times has done good work over the years. But their time is steadily running out as a legitimate source of news.

    It won't happen but it's time for new [complete] management. (and a new owner)

    "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

    by markthshark on Fri May 23, 2014 at 02:08:51 AM PDT

  •  To be "secure" is to be locked up or tied down. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, dabr, bumbi

    Since electronic data/information are neither removed nor restricted by being collected, the "guarantee," which is only supported by a prohibition on how information might be used to prosecute a crime, was worthless from the start. Never mind that "unreasonable" is a fungible word.

    Individual rights, such as they are, are secured by the premise that all charges of malfeasance are initiated by a complaint whose validity is then challenged by agents of law enforcement. It's a triangular process which is supposed to preclude individuals taking the law into their own hands.

    What is being complained about by the civil rights community is the prospect of agents of government, instead of waiting for and relying on compliants from affronted or afflicted citizens, are about to initiate law enforcement actions on their own hook, based on a body of collected information that looks subversive. To a certain extent, there is reason to be concerned because a certain category of people does seem incapable of following the proper sequence and, therefor, is inclined towards pre-emptive action. We do not want to see a repeat of the Iraq debacle on the domestic scene.
    But, while pre-emptive people are a problem, it's probably not likely that a system can be constructed so as to eliminate them automatically from trying to do their untimely stuff. Constant vigilance will continue to be required.
    The law does not initiate or justify pre-emptive restrictions on individual liberty. The restrictive impulse, like the punitive impulse, arises in some breasts quite independently. People do not have to have a gun to want to kill. People do not need permission to invade another's privacy. Nor, for that matter, does the right to privacy preclude its violation. Attention must be paid, if rights are to be respected and honored.

    If we elected agents of government who dishonor their commitment to serve, then they have to be replaced. Given the legislation passed by Congress contravening the clear intent of the Constitution (DOMA, DADT, military trials for civilians, monopolies, unwarranted detention and expulsion) to provide for the wefare of every person, it is clear that some of our legislative agents need to be removed. Replacing the preemptive mindset in the executive is obviously not sufficient.

    by hannah on Fri May 23, 2014 at 02:18:34 AM PDT

  •  Your approach, unfortunately, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, BMScott

    is with too broad a brush.  Is the Times article adequate?  Probably not.  But, read the Times Editorial today entitled A Surveilance Bill That Falls Short  and one gets an entirely different view.  And one that bears the imprature of the Times Editorial Board:  

    year ago, it would have been unimaginable for the House to pass a bill to curtail the government’s abusive surveillance practices. The documents leaked by Edward Snowden, however, finally shocked lawmakers from both parties into action, producing promises that they would stop the government from collecting the telephone data of ordinary Americans and would bring greater transparency to its domestic spying programs.

    Unfortunately, the bill passed by the House on Thursday falls far short of those promises, and does not live up to its title, the U.S.A. Freedom Act. Because of last-minute pressure from a recalcitrant Obama administration, the bill contains loopholes that dilute the strong restrictions in an earlier version, potentially allowing the spy agencies to continue much of their phone-data collection.

    Still, the bill finally begins to reverse the trend of reducing civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism, as embodied in various versions of the Patriot Act. And if the Senate fixes its flaws, it could start to rebuild confidence that Washington will get the balance right.

     emphasis mine.

    The editorial goes on to detail many of the flaws already pointed out.  

    The reporters obviously did not do a good job in reporting.  However, the Times as an institution, represented by its Editorial Board, certainly does not lie to us about this.

    Rush — the quivering rage heap who is apparently desperately trying to extinguish any remaining molecule of humanity that might still reside in the Chernobyl-esque Superfund cleanup site that was his soul. -- Jon Stewart

    by Its the Supreme Court Stupid on Fri May 23, 2014 at 05:18:53 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site