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View Full Version : Senate lets NSA spy program lapse, at least for now



Drew Phipps
06-01-2015, 11:57 AM
http://www.aol.com/article/2015/06/01/senate-lets-nsa-spy-program-lapse-at-least-for-now/21189395/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk1%26pLid%3D-1819678136

Senate lets NSA spy program lapse, at least for now

PATRICIA ZENGERLE AND WARREN STROBEL Jun 1st 2015 2:21AM

The legal authority for U.S. spy agencies' collection of Americans' phone records and other data expired at midnight on Sunday after the U.S. Senate failed to pass legislation extending the powers. After debate pitting Americans' distrust of intrusive government against fears of terrorist attacks, the Senate voted to advance reform legislation that would replace the bulk phone records programme revealed two years ago by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

Although the Senate did not act in time to keep the program from expiring, the vote was at least a partial victory for Democratic President Barack Obama (http://www.reuters.com/people/barack-obama), who had pushed for the reform measure as a compromise addressing privacy concerns whilst preserving a tool to help protect the country from attack. But final Senate passage was delayed until at least Tuesday by objections from Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian Republican presidential hopeful who has fulminated against the NSA programme as illegal and unconstitutional.As a result, the government's collection and search of phone records terminated at midnight when key provisions of a post-Sept. 11, 2001, law known as the USA Patriot Act expired.


In addition, U.S. law enforcement and security agencies will lose authority to conduct other programmes. Those allow for "roving wiretaps" aimed at terrorism suspects who use multiple disposable cell phones; permit authorities to target "lone wolf" suspects with no connexion to specific terrorist groups, and make it easier to seize personal and business records of suspects and their associates. Still, eventual resumption of the phone records programme in another form, and the other government powers, appeared likely after the Senate voted 77-17 to take up the reform legislation, called the USA Freedom Act.

"This bill will ultimately pass," Paul acknowledged after the procedural vote. The Senate abruptly reversed course during a rare Sunday session to let the bill go ahead, after Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reluctantly acknowledged that Paul had stymied his efforts to extend the Patriot Act provisions. Intelligence experts say a lapse of only a few days would have little immediate effect. The government is allowed to continue collecting information related to any foreign intelligence investigation that began before the deadline.

Obama strongly backed the Freedom Act, as have most Democrats. It passed the House of Representatives on May 13 by 338-88. After the Senate adjourned, the White House issued a statement calling on the Senate to "put aside partisan motivations and act swiftly." The measure could face more debate in Congress. Republican Senator Richard Burr offered several amendments, including one to extend the existing programme for 12 months to provide more time to adopt changes mandated by the Freedom Act. That could be a problem for some House members, because it doubles the transition period in their version of the bill.

'DEMAGOGUERY AND DISINFORMATION'

Republicans have been deeply divided on the issue. Security hawks wanted the NSA programme to continue as is, and libertarians like Paul want to kill it altogether. The Senate debate was angry. Paul said the Patriot Act provisions wasted resources better spent targeting those planning attacks. He even accused some of his critics of wanting an attack on the United States "so they can blame it on me."

McConnell accused Paul, his fellow Kentucky Republican, and other Patriot Act opponents of waging "a campaign of demagoguery and disinformation" based on revelations from Snowden "who was last seen in Russia (http://uk.reuters.com/places/russia)." McConnell has endorsed Paul for president. But he wanted to extend the Patriot Act provisions, unchanged, for five years, and agreed only reluctantly to allow a vote on the Freedom Act despite what he called its "serious flaws."

David Guyatt
06-01-2015, 12:26 PM
It seems pretty clear by now that domestic snooping and eavesdropping hasn't proved to be of any benefit whatsoever in regard to the prevention of terrorist acts - they happen anyway and most of us understand why - so the real question is why do the hawks continue to want it?
::puppet::

Michael Barwell
06-01-2015, 04:49 PM
so the real question is why do the hawks continue to want it?

"Powerrr" in a word. They've turned me into a caricature for purpose of accolades and grandiose visions of self-worth - hero complexers - and they have to justify their budgets and to excuse torture-murdering their own citizens (of the UK). I'm pretty sure I have implants in my right thumb, left elbow, right side of my head and cerebellum, and elsewhere. They gotta - wanta - try-out these gimmicky toys, and torture-murder. Additionally, they're sado-narcissistists, they enjoy their work. I hate to bang a drum here, but it's pretty heavy stuff - for ppl like me.

Drew Phipps
06-01-2015, 09:05 PM
I believe the elephant in the room nobody wants to talk about is the fact that information from this type of surveillance is routinely being forwarded to local law enforcement. It is of high value for investigations and prosecutions at the local level. Nobody wants to admit this because there are specific warrant requirements for this type of use, which I believe are routinely being ignored.

David Guyatt
06-02-2015, 06:52 AM
I believe the elephant in the room nobody wants to talk about is the fact that information from this type of surveillance is routinely being forwarded to local law enforcement. It is of high value for investigations and prosecutions at the local level. Nobody wants to admit this because there are specific warrant requirements for this type of use, which I believe are routinely being ignored.

I can see that, Drew. That, I feel sure, is one reason why it's in use, but I don't sense this is the principal reason. Usually there are several reasons that together form an irresistible temptation. I also think high level blackmail is another contributing factor, and industrial espionage another, not to mention the fostering of an atmosphere of fear and suspicion a la the Stasi and Gestapo.

Charles Keeble
06-02-2015, 12:26 PM
It makes for a swell CYA program.

Michael Barwell
06-02-2015, 03:15 PM
I believe the elephant in the room nobody wants to talk about is the fact that information from this type of surveillance is routinely being forwarded to local law enforcement. It is of high value for investigations and prosecutions at the local level. Nobody wants to admit this because there are specific warrant requirements for this type of use, which I believe are routinely being ignored.

I can see that, Drew. That, I feel sure, is one reason why it's in use, but I don't sense this is the principal reason. Usually there are several reasons that together form an irresistible temptation. I also think high level blackmail is another contributing factor, and industrial espionage another, not to mention the fostering of an atmosphere of fear and suspicion a la the Stasi and Gestapo.

Your both not wrong by any means, I think. What concerns me, is that as a civilisation, we know full well that where laws are flouted, injustice is the inevitable result. Where there's injustice, there's a slight to civilisation. Where a process is instigated where it's known there's the inevitability of injustice, civilisation/society has started to devolve. Where that devolution is embedded in societal structures and norms, we all get a bit more simian. Laws aren't perfect, like democracy, but who'd choose to take a massive shit on either? Who'd choose to trust a sneeky bastard who raided yer home last week? You'd have to be some sort of fruitcake.

Charles Keeble
06-03-2015, 01:57 AM
And there's always a great need to make sure nobody ever cruises about looking for a submarine sandwich while listening to the Pentangle.