It would sure be nice if the Dems didn't suck on protecting the Fourth Amendment
Congressional opposition to the NSA's bulk surveillance on Americans swelled on Tuesday as the US House prepared to vote on restricting the collection of US phone records and a leading Senate critic blasted a "culture of misinformation" around government surveillance.
Republican congressman Justin Amash prevailed in securing a vote for his amendment to a crucial funding bill for the Department of Defense that "ends authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act." The vote could take place as early as Wednesday evening.
"The people have spoken through their representatives," Amash told the Guardian on Tuesday. "This is an opportunity to vote on something that will substantially limit the ability of the NSA to collect their phone records without suspicion."
It will be the first such vote held by Congress on restricting NSA surveillance after the revelations from ex-contractor Edward Snowden, published in the Guardian and the Washington Post, that detailed a fuller picture of the surveillance authorities than officials had publicly disclosed – something blasted in a fiery Tuesday speech by Senator Ron Wyden, a prominent Democratic critic of the surveillance programs.
In a sign of how crucial the NSA considers its bulk phone records collection, which a secret surveillance court reapproved on Friday, its director, General Keith Alexander, held a four-hour classified briefing with members of Congress. Alexander's meeting was listed as "top-secret" and divided into two two-hour sessions, the first for Republicans and the second for Democrats. Staffers for the legislators were not permitted to attend.
Separate briefings for each legacy party. Well, I suppose if there are any decent Ds representives, they can compare notes with the Rs afterwards.
NOTE Say, I wonder if notes or recordings are permitted. BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!
UPDATE Senator Wyden has been pretty good -- though why not just blow the gaffe on the Senate floor, where he's got parliamentary immunity? And there are a lot of bills. And Grayson, like Amash (apparently) is a master of "the Amendment hack." But if the Dems, as a party, do anything other than kayfabe I will be stunned. Because Rule #1 is "Never make Obama look bad."