July 2, 1776, was the day Congress voted in favor of the Declaration of Independence. The signing took place on July 4.
Today’s Congress would not be so rash.
Those of us who are paranoid about our privacy are under assault these days. Government spying on Americans is escalating.
A handful of members of Congress are trying to get the Obama Administration to reveal how many Americans have had their communications tapped by the National Security Agency. They are being stonewalled.
A 2008 known as FISA allows the government to collect data without a warrant. The government can tap our phones and monitor our emails.
Under the new law, telecoms are not subject to prosecution for cooperating with the NSA.
The FISA Amendments Act is up for renewal for another five years. Senator Wyden of Oregon is trying to get answers about the extent of the wiretapping. So is Senator Udall. They write:“We have concluded . . . that section 702 currently contains a loophole that could be used to circumvent traditional warrant protections and search for the communications of a potentially large number of American citizens.”
Yet not only have changes not been made to the law to address this vital concern, but the administration refuses to give the Senators any information on whether they’re correct. Back in July 2011, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence told them “it is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed” under the FAA.
Without warrants, there can be back-door searches. There ought to be rules prohibiting this, Wyden says. He says there must be “clear rules prohibiting the government from searching through these communications in an effort to find the phone calls or emails of a particular American, unless the government has obtained a warrant or emergency authorization permitting surveillance of that American.” So far, he cannot get the cooperation of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), which has rejected his amendment.
The House of Representatives has been equally uncooperative. The House Judiciary Committee passed the re-authorization bill. It voted own all amendments that would have forced the government to be more transparent.
So did another House Committee: The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
This is a bipartisan blank check to the snoopers.
The bills must be voted on by both houses of Congress. But when committees favor such bills, successful opposition is difficult.
For details on how to fight this, click the link.