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Right to Privacy vs. National Security

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Guest LAW

Q Edward Snowden has said he would like to have asylum in Russia, that he’s willing to agree to their demand that he not continue to release information to them. What is your message today to Russia about what the implications of granting that to him would be for their relations with the United States?

MR. CARNEY: Our position on Mr. Snowden and the felony charges against him, and our belief that he ought to be returned to the United States to face those felony charges is as it was. And we have communicated it to a variety of countries, including Russia. So it’s no different than it was. And I would simply say that providing a propaganda platform for Mr. Snowden runs counter to the Russian government’s previous declarations of Russia’s neutrality and that they have no control over his presence in the airport. It’s also incompatible with Russian assurances that they do not want Mr. Snowden to further damage U.S. interests.

But having said that, our position also remains that we don’t believe this should, and we don’t want it to do harm to our important relationship with Russia. And we continue to discuss with Russia our strongly held view that there is absolute legal justification for him to be expelled, for him to be returned to the United States to face the charges that have been brought against him for the unauthorized leaking of classified information.

Q Jay, are you saying there would be no repercussions to U.S.-Russian relations if he's granted asylum there?

MR. CARNEY: I think that I'm not going to speculate about something that hasn't happened.

What I would say is that we don’t believe this issue should do harm to the relations between Russia and the United States. And we are working with the Russians and have made clear to the Russians our views about the fact that Mr. Snowden has been charged with very serious crimes, and that he should be returned to the United States where he will be granted full due process and every right available to him as a United States citizen facing our justice system under the Constitution. And we'll continue to have those conversations, and we've made very clear our views.

Q Have the Russians communicated anything to you recently about him?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I don’t have any specific conversations to read out except that obviously we are in conversation with Russian officials, as we are with other officials from other nations when we've talked about issues of where -- what nations might be transit points or potential destinations for Mr. Snowden were he to leave the transit lounge of the Sheremetyevo Airport.

But the conversations that have been held reflect everything that I'm telling you now in terms of our views on this matter.

Q And Snowden wrote in an open letter that the U.S. government is engaged in an unlawful campaign to deny him his right to seek asylum. Is that how you see it?

MR. CARNEY: No, it is not. He has been charged under the law with three felonies, very serious crimes. And every aspect of the United States system of justice is available to him upon his return to the U.S. to face those charges. And that’s how our system works.

We have communicated with nations around the world our view that Mr. Snowden should be returned to the United States because of the charges filed against him and because -- which is normal practice when you've been charged with felonies and the revocation of his passport, because he does not have travel papers or a valid passport, that he ought to be returned to the United States, and where he will face justice in a system that affords defendants all the rights that every American citizen enjoys.

 

Q Thank you. Back to Snowden just for a moment. You said that the administration is working with the Russians. What does that mean? What does that look like? Is the President directly involved in these conversations? Is the Vice President?

MR. CARNEY: We’ve had conversations with Russian officials at a variety of high levels, and the President actually does have a call scheduled with President Putin for later today. That is a call that has been on the books for several days. So he will have that conversation.

Q Will you read it out?

MR. CARNEY: I’m sure we’ll have something for you on it.

Q You could put it on the mult -- save you some readout time. (Laughter.)

MR. CARNEY: You think that’s a good idea?

Q I do. (Laughter.)

MR. CARNEY: Yes, I expect you do.

But, Susan, the point is, is that we’ve made clear both in public and in our conversations at a variety of levels -- including through law enforcement channels, which is the normal mechanism through which something like this would be resolved -- that Mr. Snowden is wanted on three felony charges.

We have a history of effective law enforcement cooperation with Russia, with the Russian government, including very recently in the wake of the bombings in Boston at the Boston Marathon, and that through those channels and through the normal procedures, we believe Mr. Snowden ought to be expelled from Russia and to make his way home to the United States, where as a U.S. citizen he is afforded all the considerable rights that defendants are afforded when they are charged with crimes. And he has been charged with three felonies and with very serious crimes in the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive, classified information.

Q There’s an important summit later this summer. What impact would this have with their decision on whether the President goes to that summit?

MR. CARNEY: Well, the President has and plans to -- has said and plans to travel to Russia for the G20 Summit in September, and I certainly don’t have any updates on his travel schedule beyond what we’ve said already.

Q Thanks very much, Jay. Does the President think that folks like Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International are being used by Edward Snowden when they show up at a meeting with him in the secure part of the airport? Does the President have any message for groups that stand up for what they describe as human rights --

MR. CARNEY: I would say a couple of things about that. One, those groups do important work, but Mr. Snowden is not a human rights activist or a dissident. He is accused of leaking classified information, has been charged with three felony counts, and should be returned to the United States, where he will be accorded full due process.

And on the issue of human rights organizations in Russia, meeting with Mr. Snowden, I think we would urge the Russian government to afford human rights organizations the ability to do their work in Russia throughout Russia, not just at the Moscow transit lounge.

Q On July the 19th, the FISA Court order that enables the collection of Verizon data expires. Does the administration plan to renew or amend that order?

MR. CARNEY: That's a question I think best addressed to the Department of Justice. I don't have anything for you on it. But, thank you.

Q Can you do the week ahead, Jay?

Q Jay, one last one --

MR. CARNEY: Yes, Steve. Is it breaking news from your --

Q The phone call -- no, no, the phone call with President Putin, is it specifically about Snowden, or is it a myriad of topics?

MR. CARNEY: Well, I don't think that's the only topic that will be discussed. I’m sure that will be discussed. I just want to make clear that it was something that we put on the books a couple of days ago for today, and I’m sure we’ll have some sort of readout about it for you.

Q And he’ll ask to return Snowden?

MR. CARNEY: I don't want to predict or put into the President’s mouth words that haven’t been spoken. I’m sure President Putin is aware of our views about Mr. Snowden, and I know that issue has been discussed at a variety of levels between our two governments.

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Judge Reggie Walton of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued ruling in favor of Yahoo

 

IN RE DIRECTIVES PURSUANT TO SECTION 105B OF THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT

 

Docket No. 105B ( g ) 07-01

 

Order

 

This matter is before the Court on the "Provider's Unclassified Motion Under FISC Rule 62 for Publicatio of this Court's Decision and Other Records," submitted by Yahoo!, inc

 

("Yahoo!" or "Provider") on June 14, 2013, and the Provider filed a reply on July 9, 2013.

 

The Provider seeks to make public additional information about this case in light of:

 

( a ) a recent declassification decisions by the Director of National Intelligence ("DNI"); ( b ) the recent controversy surrounding the use of directives issued under Section 702 of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveilance Act ("FISA"), as amended] and under section 105B of...the Protect America Act of 2007 ("PAA") and ( c ) recently-filed litigation regarding the constitutionality of Section 702.

http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/courts/fisc/105b-g-07-01-rbw-signed-order-130715.pdf

1. The Government shall conduct a declassification review of ( a ) this Court's Memorandum Opinion of April 25, 2008, and (2) legal briefs submitted by the parties to this Court in this matter. After such review, the Court anticipates publishing that Memorandum Opinion in a form the redacts properly classified information.

 

2. The Government shall report to the Court by July 29, 2013, with estimated dates by which it will be able to complete its review of the two categories of documentes identified above. Priority should be given to the review of this Court's Memorandum Opinion.

 

SO ORDERED, this 15th day of July, 2013.

 

REGGIE B. WALTON

Judge, United States Foreign

Intelligence Surveillance Court

http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/courts/fisc/105b-g-07-01-rbw-signed-order-130715.pdf

Here is background of Judge Walton

 

In May 2007, Chief Justice John Roberts appointed Judge Walton to serve as a Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is a 7-year appointment, and in February 2013, the Chief Justice elevated Judge Walton to the position of Presiding Judge of that same court.

 

http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/dcd/walton

In another FISA case the ACLU filed a motion to see the court's opinion of the constitutionality of the Patriot Act. The Court cited a 1986 case where Robert Diaz was accused of 12 patient murders while acting as a nurse at the Community Hospital of the Valleys in Perris, California. The defendant requested that the public be excluded from the proceedings. The Magistrate granted the unopposed request because of the national attention that the case had garnered. At the end of the hearing the Press-Enterprise requested that the transcripts be released, but the request was denied and the records were sealed.

 

This Court held that the First Amendment does not provide the right of public access to such records, in whole or part, under the test establishing such a right in Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court, 478 U.S. (1986)("Press-Enterprise II). See In re release, 526 F. Supp. 2d at 491-97. Additionally, the Court declined to exercise any residual discretion it might possess "to undertake the searching review of the Executive Branch's classification decisions requested by the ACLU," without prejudice to the ACLU's "pursuing whatever remedies may be to it in a district court through a...request addressed to the Executive Branch" under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C 552 ("FOIA") See In re Release, 526 F. Supp. 2d at 497

http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/courts/fisc/misc-13-02-us-opposition-130705.pdf

In the instant Motion, the ACLU requests that this court publish opinions evaluating the meaning, scope, and constitutionality of Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT ACT, 50 U.S.C 1861.

http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/courts/fisc/misc-13-02-us-opposition-130705.pdf

1. There is No First Amendment Right of Access to Judicial Opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/courts/fisc/misc-13-02-us-opposition-130705.pdf

As this Court explained, "[t]he FISC is a unique court." In re Release, 526 F. Supp. 2d at 487. Whereas "[o]ther courts operate primarily in public, with secrecy the exception; the FISC operates primarily in secret, with public access the exception." Id. at 488. The FISC maintains this operational secrecy because, unlike any other court, its "entire docket relates to the collection of foreign intelligence by the federal government." Id at 487. Indeed, proceedings before the FISC involve highly sensitive and classified matters involving national security, relating, for example, to efforts by the United States to foil acts of international terrorism. By their very nature, such proceedings need to be conducted in secrecy. Additionally, unlike the operations of any other court, the FISC's operations are governed "by FISA, by Court rule, and by statutorily mandated security procedures issued by the Chief Justice of the United States [which] [t]ogether...represent a comprehensive scheme for the safeguarding and handling of FISC proceedings and records." Id at 488. Thus, the FISC's proceedings and the handling of its records are different in type or kind from the proceeding and handling of records in any U.S. court, and it is appropriate "to apply the Press-Enterprise II tests to the proceedings and records of the FISC, rather than to the decisions of all Article III courts." In re Release II, at 6.

http://www.uscourts.gov/uscourts/courts/fisc/misc-13-02-us-opposition-130705.pdf

 

SEC. 215. ACCESS TO RECORDS AND OTHER ITEMS UNDER THE FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT.

Title V of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861 et seq.) is amended by striking sections 501 through 503 and inserting the following:

 

`SEC. 501. ACCESS TO CERTAIN BUSINESS RECORDS FOR FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE AND INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM INVESTIGATIONS.

`( a )(1) The Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation or a designee of the Director (whose rank shall be no lower than Assistant Special Agent in Charge) may make an application for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.

 

`(2) An investigation conducted under this section shall--

 

`( A ) be conducted under guidelines approved by the Attorney General under Executive Order 12333 (or a successor order); and

`( B ) not be conducted of a United States person solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

`( B ) Each application under this section--

 

`(1) shall be made to--

`( A ) a judge of the court established by section 103(a); or

`( B ) a United States Magistrate Judge under chapter 43 of title 28, United States Code, who is publicly designated by the Chief Justice of the United States to have the power to hear applications and grant orders for the production of tangible things under this section on behalf of a judge of that court; and

`(2) shall specify that the records concerned are sought for an authorized investigation conducted in accordance with subsection (a)(2) to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.

`( c )(1) Upon an application made pursuant to this section, the judge shall enter an ex parte order as requested, or as modified, approving the release of records if the judge finds that the application meets the requirements of this section.

 

`(2) An order under this subsection shall not disclose that it is issued for purposes of an investigation described in subsection ( a ).

 

`( d ) No person shall disclose to any other person (other than those persons necessary to produce the tangible things under this section) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has sought or obtained tangible things under this section.

 

`( e ) A person who, in good faith, produces tangible things under an order pursuant to this section shall not be liable to any other person for such production. Such production shall not be deemed to constitute a waiver of any privilege in any other proceeding or context.

 

`SEC. 502. CONGRESSIONAL OVERSIGHT.

`( a ) On a semiannual basis, the Attorney General shall fully inform the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate concerning all requests for the production of tangible things under section 402.

 

`( b ) On a semiannual basis, the Attorney General shall provide to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate a report setting forth with respect to the preceding 6-month period--

 

`(1) the total number of applications made for orders approving requests for the production of tangible things under section 402; and

`(2) the total number of such orders either granted, modified, or denied.'.

 

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-107hr3162enr/pdf/BILLS-107hr3162enr.pdf

How much of our Freedom do we have to give up in the land of the Free? How much protection is needed in the home of the Brave?

 

We can't sacrifice all of our civil liberties in order to save our country, but we also have to recognize that we have to save our country. - Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth

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Guest Freedom Works

Justin Amash’s amendment to the Defense Appropriations Bill will ensure that only those NSA’s searches that are authorized by a warrant receive funding. The amendment protects the rights of Americans under the Constitution.

 

This is not a Democrat versus Republican issue. This is constitutionally-limited government versus Big Brother.

 

The 4th Amendment must be upheld. Our founding fathers did not risk their lives and sacred honor so the government could spy on innocent citizens without a warrant.

 

Call your Representative right now and urge them to vote for Justin Amash’s amendment to H.R. 2397. The Bill of Rights must be protected.

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Guest Luke

Here is an interesting Article from the Internet Archive

 

Because of recent news reports, I wanted to cross check the cost feasibility of the NSA’s recording all of the US phonecalls and processing them.

 

These estimates show only $27M in capital cost, and $2M in electricity and take less than 5,000 square feet of space to store and process all US phonecalls made in a year. The NSA seems to be spending $1.7 billion on a 100k square foot datacenter that could easily handle this and much much more. Therefore, money and technology would not hold back such a project– it would be held back if someone did not have the opportunity or will.

 

Another study concluded about 4x my data estimates others have suggested the data could be compressed 10:1, and the power bill would be lower in Utah. A Google Doc version of the spreadsheet and a cut and past version below.

 

http://blog.archive.org/2013/06/15/cost-to-store-all-us-phonecalls-made-in-a-year-in-cloud-storage-so-it-could-be-datamined/

 

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Guest LAW

5:58:22 P.M. H.R. 2397 An amendment, offered by Mr. Amash, numbered 100 printed in House Report 113-170 to end authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. It would also bar the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215.

6:53:20 P.M. H.R. 2397 On agreeing to the Amash amendment; Failed by recorded vote: 205 - 217 (Roll no. 412).

 

FINAL VOTE RESULTS FOR ROLL CALL 412
(Republicans in roman; Democrats in italic; Independents underlined)

      H R 2397      RECORDED VOTE      24-Jul-2013      6:51 PM

      AUTHOR(S):  Amash of Michigan Amendment No. 100

      QUESTION:  On Agreeing to the Amendment

 

  Ayes Noes PRES NV
Republican 94 134   6
Democratic 111 83   6
Independent        
TOTALS 205 217   12

---- AYES    205 ---

Amash

Amodei

Bachus

Barton

Bass

Becerra

Bentivolio

Bishop (UT)

Black

Blackburn

Blumenauer

Bonamici

Brady (PA)

Braley (IA)

Bridenstine

Broun (GA)

Buchanan

Burgess

Capps

Capuano

Cárdenas

Carson (IN)

Cartwright

Cassidy

Chabot

Chaffetz

Chu

Cicilline

Clarke

Clay

Cleaver

Clyburn

Coffman

Cohen

Connolly

Conyers

Courtney

Cramer

Crowley

Cummings

Daines

Davis, Danny

Davis, Rodney

DeFazio

DeGette

DeLauro

DelBene

DeSantis

DesJarlais

Deutch

Dingell

Doggett

Doyle

Duffy

Duncan (SC)

Duncan (TN)

Edwards

Ellison

Eshoo

Farenthold

Farr

Fattah

Fincher

Fitzpatrick

Fleischmann

Fleming

Fudge

Gabbard

Garamendi

Gardner

Garrett

Gibson

Gohmert

Gosar

Gowdy

Graves (GA)

Grayson

Green, Gene

Griffin (AR)

Griffith (VA)

Grijalva

Hahn

Hall

Harris

Hastings (FL)

Holt

Honda

Huelskamp

Huffman

Huizenga (MI)

Hultgren

Jeffries

Jenkins

Johnson (OH)

Jones

Jordan

Keating

Kildee

Kingston

Labrador

LaMalfa

Lamborn

Larson (CT)

Lee (CA)

Lewis

Loebsack

Lofgren

Lowenthal

Lujan Grisham (NM)

Luján, Ben Ray (NM)

Lummis

Lynch

Maffei

Maloney, Carolyn

Marchant

Massie

Matsui

McClintock

McCollum

McDermott

McGovern

McHenry

McMorris Rodgers

Meadows

Mica

Michaud

Miller, Gary

Miller, George

Moore

Moran

Mullin

Mulvaney

Nadler

Napolitano

Neal

Nolan

Nugent

O'Rourke

Owens

Pascrell

Pastor (AZ)

Pearce

Perlmutter

Perry

Petri

Pingree (ME)

Pocan

Poe (TX)

Polis

Posey

Price (GA)

Radel

Rahall

Rangel

Ribble

Rice (SC)

Richmond

Roe (TN)

Rohrabacher

Ross

Rothfus

Roybal-Allard

Rush

Salmon

Sánchez, Linda T.

Sanchez, Loretta

Sanford

Sarbanes

Scalise

Schiff

Schrader

Schweikert

Scott (VA)

Sensenbrenner

Serrano

Shea-Porter

Sherman

Smith (MO)

Smith (NJ)

Southerland

Speier

Stewart

Stockman

Swalwell (CA)

Takano

Thompson (MS)

Thompson (PA)

Tierney

Tipton

Tonko

Tsongas

Vela

Velázquez

Walz

Waters

Watt

Waxman

Weber (TX)

Welch

Williams

Wilson (SC)

Yarmuth

Yoder

Yoho

Young (AK)

---- NOES    217 ---

Aderholt

Alexander

Andrews

Bachmann

Barber

Barr

Barrow (GA)

Benishek

Bera (CA)

Bilirakis

Bishop (GA)

Bishop (NY)

Boehner

Bonner

Boustany

Brady (TX)

Brooks (AL)

Brooks (IN)

Brown (FL)

Brownley (CA)

Bucshon

Butterfield

Calvert

Camp

Cantor

Capito

Carney

Carter

Castor (FL)

Castro (TX)

Cole

Collins (GA)

Collins (NY)

Conaway

Cook

Cooper

Costa

Cotton

Crawford

Crenshaw

Cuellar

Culberson

Davis (CA)

Delaney

Denham

Dent

Diaz-Balart

Duckworth

Ellmers

Engel

Enyart

Esty

Flores

Forbes

Fortenberry

Foster

Foxx

Frankel (FL)

Franks (AZ)

Frelinghuysen

Gallego

Garcia

Gerlach

Gibbs

Gingrey (GA)

Goodlatte

Granger

Graves (MO)

Green, Al

Grimm

Guthrie

Gutiérrez

Hanabusa

Hanna

Harper

Hartzler

Hastings (WA)

Heck (NV)

Heck (WA)

Hensarling

Higgins

Himes

Hinojosa

Holding

Hoyer

Hudson

Hunter

Hurt

Israel

Issa

Jackson Lee

Johnson (GA)

Johnson, E. B.

Johnson, Sam

Joyce

Kaptur

Kelly (IL)

Kelly (PA)

Kennedy

Kilmer

Kind

King (IA)

King (NY)

Kinzinger (IL)

Kirkpatrick

Kline

Kuster

Lance

Langevin

Lankford

Larsen (WA)

Latham

Latta

Levin

Lipinski

LoBiondo

Long

Lowey

Lucas

Luetkemeyer

Maloney, Sean

Marino

Matheson

McCarthy (CA)

McCaul

McIntyre

McKeon

McKinley

McNerney

Meehan

Meeks

Meng

Messer

Miller (FL)

Miller (MI)

Murphy (FL)

Murphy (PA)

Neugebauer

Noem

Nunes

Nunnelee

Olson

Palazzo

Paulsen

Payne

Pelosi

Peters (CA)

Peters (MI)

Peterson

Pittenger

Pitts

Pompeo

Price (NC)

Quigley

Reed

Reichert

Renacci

Rigell

Roby

Rogers (AL)

Rogers (KY)

Rogers (MI)

Rooney

Ros-Lehtinen

Roskam

Royce

Ruiz

Runyan

Ruppersberger

Ryan (OH)

Ryan (WI)

Schakowsky

Schneider

Schwartz

Scott, Austin

Scott, David

Sessions

Sewell (AL)

Shimkus

Shuster

Simpson

Sinema

Sires

Slaughter

Smith (NE)

Smith (TX)

Smith (WA)

Stivers

Stutzman

Terry

Thompson (CA)

Thornberry

Tiberi

Titus

Turner

Upton

Valadao

Van Hollen

Vargas

Veasey

Visclosky

Wagner

Walberg

Walden

Walorski

Wasserman Schultz

Webster (FL)

Wenstrup

Westmoreland

Whitfield

Wilson (FL)

Wittman

Wolf

Womack

Woodall

Young (FL)

Young (IN)

---- NOT VOTING    12 ---

Barletta

Beatty

Bustos

Campbell

Coble

Herrera Beutler

Horsford

McCarthy (NY)

Negrete McLeod

Pallone

Rokita

Schock


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Guest LAW

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

 

At the end of the bill (before the short title), add the following:

SEC. __. None of funds made available by this Act may be used by the National Security Agency to--

(1) conduct an acquisition pursuant to section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 for the purpose of targeting a United States person; or

(2) acquire, monitor, or store the contents (as such term is defined in section 2510(8) of title 18, United States Code) of any electronic communication of a United States


person from a provider of electronic communication services to the public pursuant to section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.

 

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 312, the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Pompeo) and a Member opposed each will control 7 1/2 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Kansas.

 

Mr. POMPEO. Mr. Chairman, the amendment I offer this evening clarifies and confirms the scope of two programs that Mr. Snowden illegally exposed while sitting in a hotel room in Communist China.

 

First, the amendment clarifies that under section 702 no U.S. citizen or person in the U.S. can be targeted, period. I say again, no U.S. person under section 702 may be targeted in any way by the United States Government. While there are other specific authorities the U.S. person may be subject to an investigation, the U.S. Government may not do so under section 702. That's what this amendment intends to clarify.

 

The second part of the amendment clarifies section 215, also known as section 501 of FISA. The amendment clarifies that no content of communications can be stored or collected by the National Security Agency--that's no emails, no video clips, no Skype. No record of the actual conversation or the contents thereof may be recorded or collected by the National Security Agency. I can't repeat that enough. That's the intent of this amendment.

 

I want to make clear to everyone that, contrary to the suggestions of some, the NSA has not been acting outside of the scope of its authorities. The Meta-Data program is carefully designed with program layers of oversight by all three branchs of government. This is precisely the way our government ought to operate, with input from Article I and Article II and Article III of the United States Constitution.

 

It is, of course, our duty to ensure that the NSA stays within these legal bounds here in Congress, and this amendment makes those boundaries perfectly clear for everyone to know and understand.

And we shouldn't mislead the American people into thinking that the NSA has been acting illegally. There is perhaps no program in the United States Government that is as carefully monitored and overseen as the programs this amendment attempts to clarify.

 

To the extent that some in this Chamber wish to review or provide more protections and controls for these programs, we should proceed through a carefully considered and debated legislative process so that the full implications for our security are clearly understood.

Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

 

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Indiana is recognized for 7 1/2 minutes.

 

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chair, I yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Nadler).

 

Mr. NADLER. Mr. Chairman, this amendment has been described and offered as an alternative to the Amash-Conyers amendment that we will consider next. It is not.

 

This amendment restates the existing ban on the intentional targeting of United States persons under section 702. It also places into law for the next fiscal year the Obama administration's current ban on collecting the contents of the communications of U.S. persons under section 215. I agree with these prohibitions. But they have nothing to do with the current misuse of section 215 to engage in the suspicionless, bulk collection of Americans' telephone records.

 

The dragnet collection under section 215 telephone metadata program reveals call information--including all numbers dialed, all incoming phone numbers and call duration--but not the content of communications. Therefore, this amendment would have no impact whatsoever on this misuse of section 215. Metadata reveals highly personal and sensitive information, including, for example, when and how often one calls the doctor, a journalist, or the local Tea Party or ACLU affiliate. By tracing the pattern of calls, the government can paint a detailed picture of anyone's personal, professional, and political associations and activities.

 

Congress never authorized this type of unchecked, sweeping surveillance of our citizens. It is this problem--the indiscriminate, bulk collection of metadata under section 215--that we need to fix right now.

 

The Amash-Conyers amendment does so by restoring the required reasonable relationship between the collection of records and specific persons being investigated under section 215. The Amash-Conyers amendment ensures that this standard is not ignored by the administration or by the FISA Court, as is happening now.

 

This amendment does not fix the problem with 215. The Amash-Conyers amendment does. However you vote on this amendment, and I intend to vote in favor of it, it is imperative that we also vote in favor of the Amash-Conyers amendment because this amendment, although doing no harm, does not solve the problems that Congress and Mr. Sensenbrenner and many others have articulated with respect to the misuse of section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.

 

Mr. POMPEO. Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Thornberry).

 

Mr. THORNBERRY. I thank the gentleman from Indiana for yielding, and I thank the gentleman from Kansas for offering this amendment, because it helps focus on what concerns most Americans and it clarifies what really is and is not happening.

 

Mr. Chairman, sometimes it is a challenge for those of us on the Intelligence Committee to talk openly about this--even the safeguards--in some of these programs. But this amendment helps make it clear and reassures Americans about some of the things they may have read or heard that is occurring with NSA. But at the same time, this amendment is not an overreaction that actually increases the danger that Americans face from terrorism around the world.

 

This amendment says clearly that NSA cannot acquire information for the purpose of targeting Americans, and it says clearly that NSA may not acquire, monitor, or store the content of the communication of any Americans.

 

I think the key point that Members need to know is there are multiple layers of safeguards to make sure that these programs operate exactly in the way that the FISA Court has laid them out to operate.

 

The Intelligence Committees of both the House and Senate do a considerable amount of oversight, get regular reports. Even if somebody accidentally punches a ``2'' versus a ``3'' on their keyboard, we get a report about that. And it even goes so far as members of the Intelligence Committee can go sit next to the analysts and watch what they are doing.

 

But it is not just the Intelligence Committees. The FISA Court has oversight of the same sorts of reports. They can change the guidelines that it operates under. But in addition to that, there are internal inspector general monitoring of these. So you get every branch of government involved in making sure that the safeguards are in place and those same safeguards will be in place to make sure that the provisions of the gentleman's amendment are followed as well.

 

Some, however, Mr. Chairman, would do away with these programs. No amount of safeguards are good for them. But they never say what would replace them, they never say what would fill the gap in meeting our responsibilities to defend Americans. They would just have them go away, and I guess assume that somehow or other that Americans could be made safe.

 

The truth is, we had been incredibly successful and somewhat lucky since 9/11 as far as preventing further terrorist attacks on our homeland. That is because of the work of the military, intelligence professionals, law enforcement and, as I say, a fair amount of luck.

 

But these programs at NSA have made a crucial contribution to that success over the last decade. It seems to me it would be foolhardy to toss them away, as some would want to do.

I think this amendment strikes the right approach. I also believe, Mr. Chairman, The Wall Street Journal makes a good point in today's editorial when it says:

 

The last thing Congress should do is kill a program in a rush to honor the reckless claims of Mr. Snowden and his apologists.

 

Mr. POMPEO. Mr. Chairman, I am happy to yield 3 minutes to the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Ruppersberger).

 

Mr. RUPPERSBERGER. Thank you, Mr. Pompeo.

 

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Pompeo amendment.

 

This amendment strongly reaffirms that in America, privacy and security must coexist together. This amendment states in no uncertain terms that the government cannot use section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA, to intentionally target an American for surveillance.

 

This important amendment also reaffirms that phone conversations cannot be collected through section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. It makes the intentions of Congress very clear.

 

I believe the Pompeo amendment makes a powerful statement that NSA cannot target Americans for the collection or listen to their phone calls. I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes.'' However, I do understand the concerns of the American people and of Congress when it comes to these programs.

 

On the House Intelligence Committee, we are reviewing and evaluating potential ways to change the FISA Act that will provide the intelligence community with the tools it needs to keep our country safe while also protecting privacy and civil liberties. We are committed to having this important discussion. However, I do have concerns about the amendment we will debate next.

 

The Amash amendment is an on/off switch for section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. It will have an immediate operational impact and our country will be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. This authority has helped prevent terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. A planned attack on the New York City subway system was stopped because of section 215.

 

But the Amash amendment passes this authority and it will end it. This amendment goes too far, too fast, on the wrong legislative vehicle. We need to debate the scope of this program, and we are, but this is an extreme knee-jerk reaction to the situation.

 

This program has been authorized and reauthorized by Congress. It receives extensive oversight by the Intelligence Committee and is a vital tool for our intelligence community to protect our Nation. Remember, 9/11 happened in part because we failed to connect the dots. One of the critical tools we now have and use to connect those dots is section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. Remember, this is just phone records--just phone numbers--no conversations.

 

I respectfully urge a ``no'' vote on the Amash amendment and a ``yes'' vote on the Pompeo amendment.

 

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from the State of California (Ms. Lofgren).

Ms. LOFGREN. Thank you, Mr. Visclosky.

 

Mr. Chairman, I urge a ``no'' vote on the amendment. Why? Because it restates current law, and current law has been interpreted by the administration in a way that is, frankly, contrary to the intent of the crafters of the PATRIOT Act.

 

Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act says that you can obtain information that is relevant to a national security investigation.

 

Now, what has happened since Congress enacted that provision? It is a low bar, but under the NSA's interpretation, it is no bar at all. Because, as has been widely reported, they are collecting the information about every phone call made by every American. Clearly, that is not relevant to a terrorist investigation.

 

I think it is important to note that business records that are the subject of 215 include a lot of sensitive information. What are business records? phone records? Internet records? credit card records? medical records? Are these things that we would voluntarily give up to the government? No. They are incredibly sensitive, and that's why they are being sought.

 

I do think it is important to note that the amendment that will follow after this one doesn't end the ability of the government to pursue terrorism. We are all for that. It merely requires that the government adhere to the law, which requires that there be relevance to a terrorist investigation.

I certainly do not challenge the motivation of the gentleman who has offered this amendment, but I do think if you think that this provides a remedy, then you are wrong. This provides a fig leaf.

We should vote against it, and I hope that we will move on to the Amash amendment and solve the problem today.

 

Mr. POMPEO. Mr. Chairman, I am prepared to close. I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. POMPEO. Mr. Chairman, I would just like to correct a couple of things.

 

This legislation is not a fig leaf. It is intended to clarify some things that have been said, some beliefs that people hold, about what section 215 authorizes and what section 702 authorizes.

 

It is intended to make crystal clear to everyone here, as well as to the American public, the boundaries of these two important national security programs. These laws have been in place and interpreted by multiple administrations in the same way. There was no change in this law when this President came into office, and we should continue to support these programs regardless of who is the Commander in Chief for the United States.

 

Mr. Chairman, I would ask my colleagues to support this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

The Acting CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Pompeo).

The question was taken; and the Acting Chair announced that the ayes appeared to have it.

Mr. POMPEO. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Kansas will be postponed.

 

AMENDMENT NO. 100 OFFERED BY MR. AMASH

 

The Acting CHAIR. It is now in order to consider amendment No. 100 printed in House Report 113-170.

 

Mr. AMASH. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

 

At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following new section:

Sec. __. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to execute a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order pursuant to section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861) that does not include the following sentence: ``This Order limits the collection of any tangible things (including telephone numbers dialed, telephone numbers of incoming calls, and the duration of calls) that may be authorized to be collected pursuant to this Order to those tangible things that pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation described in section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861).''.

 

The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to House Resolution 312, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Amash) and a Member opposed each will control 7 1/2 minutes.

 

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Michigan.

Mr. AMASH. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.

 

We are here today for a very simple reason: to defend the Fourth Amendment, to defend the privacy of each and every American.

 

As the Director of National Intelligence has made clear, the government collects the phone records without suspicion of every single American in the United States.

 

My amendment makes a simple, but important change. It limits the government's collection of the records to those records that pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation pursuant to section 215.

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Opponents of this amendment will use the same tactic that every government throughout history has used to justify its violation of rights--fear. They will tell you that the government must violate the rights of the American people to protect us against those who hate our freedoms.

 

They will tell you there is no expectation of privacy in documents that are stored with a third party. Tell that to the American people.

 

Tell that to our constituents back home.

 

We are here to answer one question for the people we represent: Do we oppose the suspicionless collection of every American's phone records?

 

I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Madam Chairman, I rise to claim the time in opposition to the gentleman's amendment.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman is recognized for 7 1/2 minutes.

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. I am very happy to yield 3 minutes to the very distinguished chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Rogers).

 

Mr. ROGERS of Michigan. I thank the gentleman.

Mr. Chairman, I think the American people and, certainly, some well-intentioned Members in this Chamber have legitimate concerns. They should be addressed. We should have time and education on what actually happens in the particular program of which we speak.

 

I will pledge to each one of you today and give you my word that this fall, when we do the Intel authorization bill, that we will work to find additional privacy protections with this program which have no email, no phone calls, no names, and no addresses.

 

Fourteen Federal judges have said, yes, this comports with the Constitution; 800 cases around the 1979 case have affirmed the underpinnings of the legality of this case--800. So 14 judges are wrong, and 800 different cases are wrong. The legislators on both Intelligence committees--Republicans and Democrats--are all wrong.

 

Why is it that people of both parties came together and looked at this program at a time when our Nation was under siege by those individuals who wanted to bring violence to the shores of the United States?

 

It is that those who know it best support the program because we spend as much time on this to get it right, to make sure the oversight is right. No other program has the legislative branch, the judicial branch, and the executive branch doing the oversight of a program like this. If we had this in the other agencies, we would not have problems.

 

Think about who we are in this body. Have 12 years gone by and our memories faded so badly that we've forgotten what happened on September 11?

 

This bill turns off a very specific program. It doesn't stop so-called ``spying'' and other things that this has been alleged to do. That's not what's happening. It's not a surveillance bill. It's not monitoring. It doesn't do any of those things.

 

What happened after September 11 that we didn't know on September 10--again, passing this amendment takes us back to September 10, and afterwards we said, wow, there is a seam, a gap--was somebody leading up to the September 11 attacks who was a terrorist overseas, called a ``terrorist,'' living amongst us in the United States, and we missed it because we didn't have this capability.

 

What if we'd have caught it?

 

The good news is we don't have to what-if. It's not theoretical. Fifty-four times this and the other program stopped and thwarted terrorist attacks both here and in Europe--saving real lives. This isn't a game. This is real. It will have a real consequence. This is hard.

 

Think about the people who came here before us in this great body--Madison, Lincoln, Kennedy served here--and about the issues they dealt with and about the politics of ``big'' and of moving America forward while upholding the article I mandate to this House in that we must provide for the general defense of the United States. Think of those challenges. Think of those challenges that they met.

 

Are we so small that we can only look at our Facebook ``likes'' today in this Chamber, or are we going to stand up and find out how many lives we can save?

Let us get back to the big politics of protecting America and of moving America forward. Soundly reject this amendment. Let's do this right in the Intel authorization bill.

Mr. AMASH. I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers).

Mr. CONYERS. I thank the gentleman for yielding to me.

 

Ladies and gentlemen of the House, this amendment will not stop the proper use of the PATRIOT Act or stop the FISA authorities from conducting terrorism and intelligence investigations. I'd never block that.

All this amendment is intending to do is to curtail the ongoing dragnet collection and storage of the personal records of innocent Americans. It does not defund the NSA, and it will continue to allow them to conduct full-fledged surveillance as long as it relates to an actual investigation.

Our joining together on this bipartisan amendment demonstrates our joint commitment to ensure that our fight against terrorism and espionage follows the rule of law and the clear intent of the statutes passed by this Congress. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote for this amendment.

 

I rise in support of this amendment, which I am cosponsoring with my colleague from Michigan, Representative Justin Amash.

 

This amendment will prevent mass collection of personal records, such as phone calling information, under Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act. When Congress passed and later revised this provision, we did not intend for it to authorize the bulk, indiscriminate collection of personal information of individuals not under investigation.

 

However, we have learned that this law has been misused to allow the collection of call detail information on every phone call made in the United States under a bizarre interpretation of the statute's authorization to collect ``relevant'' information. As my colleague and author of the statute, Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, has stated, ``This expansive characterization of relevance makes a mockery of the legal standard.'

'

This amendment will not stop the proper use of PATRIOT Act and FISA authorities to conduct terrorism and intelligence investigations. All this amendment is intended to do is curtail the ongoing dragnet collection and storage of the personal records of innocent Americans. It does not defund the NSA, and it would continue to allow them to conduct full fledged surveillance as long as it relates to an actual investigation.

 

Our joining together on this bipartisan amendment demonstrates our joint commitment to ensuring that our fight against terrorism and espionage follows the rule of law and the clear intent of the statutes passed by Congress. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote for this amendment to demonstrate our bipartisan commitment to protecting individual liberty.

 

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. I am very happy to yield 2 1/2 minutes to the gentlelady from Minnesota (Mrs. Bachmann).

 

Mrs. BACHMANN. I thank the gentleman from Florida.

 

Madam Chair, this is a very important issue that we are taking up today because the number one duty of the Federal Government is the safety of the American people--of our constituents and of our own skins, the skins of each one of us in this Chamber today. As we know all too well, national security is a real and present danger, and it is something that we have to take quite seriously. We can't deal in false narratives.

 

A false narrative has emerged that the Federal Government is taking in the content of Americans' phone calls. It's not true. It's not happening.

 

A false narrative has emerged that the Federal Government is taking in the content of the American people's emails. It's not true. It's not happening.

 

We need to deal in facts. The facts are real, and the facts are these:

 

The only people who have benefited from the revelation of classified information by someone who worked for this government--who intentionally and without authorization declassified some of the most sensitive national security information that we have--are those who are engaged in Islamic jihad. They will have been benefited, and those whom we seek to protect will have not.

 

Consider this:

 

There is more information about each one of us contained in the phone book that sits at home on your kitchen counter than information that is in the National Security Database that we're talking about today. Your name, your address are in the phone book. Your name, your address are not in this National Security Database.

 

No other nation in the world has the advantage that the United States of America has on national security--no other nation--and we by this amendment today would agree to handcuff ourselves and our allies by restricting ourselves? Let it not be. Let us not deal in false narratives. Let us deal in facts that will keep the American people safe.

 

When you look at an envelope, when a letter is put in the mail, is there a privacy right as to what has been written on that envelope? No, there isn't. There is a privacy right as to what is contained inside that envelope. That's a Fourth Amendment right.

 

Is there a Fourth Amendment right to the record that you called someone on a certain day? No, there isn't--that's a record--but there is a Fourth Amendment right to what's in that phone call. Let's deal in reality, not in false narratives.

 

Mr. AMASH. I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner).

 

Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Madam Chair, I rise in strong support of the Amash amendment. I do so as the person who was the principal author of the PATRIOT Act in 2001, who got that law through quickly after 9/11 and who supported and managed its 2006 reauthorization.

 

Let me make this perfectly clear that unlike what we have heard from speakers on the other side of this issue, this amendment does not stop the collection of data under section 215--the people who are subject to an investigation of an authorized terrorist plot. What it does do is to prevent the collection of data of people who are not subject to an investigation.

 

Now, relevance is required in any type of a grand jury subpoena or in a criminal collection of data for a criminal trial. This goes far beyond what the NSA is doing. The time has come to stop it, and the way we stop it is to approve this amendment.

 

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. I reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. AMASH. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Polis).

Mr. POLIS. I thank the gentleman from Michigan for his leadership on this important issue.

Madam Chair, reports of the NSA surveillance program have broad and far-reaching consequences.

 

Many Americans feel that our fundamental liberties as a country and our constitutional rights are threatened. In addition, it has ruined and hurt our reputation abroad--threatening our trade relationships with allies, threatening American jobs as a result, and putting in danger our cooperative security relationships that we need to fight the war on terror.

 

The responsible thing to do is to show some contrition. Let's pass this amendment. Let's make sure that we can have a practical approach that shows that protecting our liberties and securities are consistent and critical for the United States of America. I urge a ``yes'' vote.

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. AMASH. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Mulvaney).

 

Mr. MULVANEY. Madam Chair, here is the question:

 

It's a question of balancing privacy versus security. It's a question beyond that. It's a question of who will do the balancing.

 

Right now, the balancing is being done by people we do not know, by people we do not elect and, in large part right now, by somebody who has admitted lying to this body at a hearing. That's wrong.

 

We should be doing the balancing. We were elected to do that. We need to pass this amendment so that we can do the balancing, not the folks who are not elected and whom we do not know.

 

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. I continue to reserve the balance of my time.

Mr. AMASH. May I inquire of the Chair how much time remains.

 

The Acting CHAIR (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen). The gentleman from Michigan has 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

 

Mr. AMASH. Madam Chair, I yield 30 seconds to the gentlewoman from California (Ms. Lofgren).

Ms. LOFGREN. I want to talk about the much ballyhooed oversight.

 

Every year, there is a report to the Judiciary Committee, an annual report, on section 215. This year, the report was eight sentences--less than a full page. To think that the Congress has substantial oversight of this program is simply incorrect.

 

I cannot match Mr. Sensenbrenner's brilliant remarks; but I do agree that when we wrote the PATRIOT Act relevance had a meaning.

 

Madam Chair, I submit for the Record a letter to Mr. Sensenbrenner from the Department of Justice, which basically says, because 300 inquiries were made, the records of every single American became relevant. That's a joke.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE,

 

OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS,

Washington, DC, July 16, 2013.
Hon. F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr.,
House of Representatives,
Washington, DC.

 

DEAR REPRESENTATIVE SENSENBRENNER: This responds to your letter to the Attorney General date June 6, 2013, regarding the ``business records'' provision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), 50 U.S.C. §1861, enacted as section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

As you know, on June 5, 2013, the media reported the unauthorized disclosure of a classified judicial order issued under this provision that has been used to support a sensitive intelligence collection program. Under this program, which has been briefed to Congress and repeatedly authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obtains authorization to collect telephony metadata, including the telephone numbers dialed and the date, time and duration of calls, from certain telecommunications service providers. The National Security Agency (NSA), in turn, archives and analyzes this information under carefully controlled circumstances and provides leads to the FBI or others in the Intelligence Community for counterterrorism purposes. Aspects of this program remain classified, and there are limits to what can be said about it in an unclassified letter. Department of Justice and Intelligence Community staff are available to provide you a briefing on the program at your request.

 

In your letter, you asked whether this intelligence collection program is consistent with the requirements of section 215 and the limits of that authority. Under section 215, the Director of the FBI may apply to the FISC for an order directing the production of any tangible things, including business records, for investigations to protect against international terrorism. To issue such an order, the FISC must determine that (1) there are reasonable grounds to believe that the things sought are relevant to an authorized investigation, other than a threat assessment; (2) the investigation is being conducted under guidelines approved by the Attorney General under Executive Order 12333; and (3) if a U.S. person is the subject of the investigation, the investigation is not being conducted solely upon the basis of First Amendment protected activities. In addition, the FISC may only require the production of items that can be obtained with a grand jury subpoena or any other court order directing the production of records or tangible things. Finally, the program must, of course, comport with the Constitution.

 

The telephony metadata program satisfies each of these requirements. The lawfulness of the telephony metadata collection program has repeatedly been affirmed by the FISC. In the years since its inception, multiple FISC judges have granted 90-day extensions of the program after concluding that it meets all applicable legal requirements.

 

Of particular significance to your question is the relevance to an authorized international terrorism investigation of the telephony metadata collected through this program. First, it is critical to understand the program in the context of the restrictions imposed by the court. Those restrictions strictly limit the extent to which the data is reviewed by the government. In particular, the FISC allows the data to be queried for intelligence purposes only when there is reasonable suspicion, based on specific facts, that a particular query term, such as a telephone number, is associated with a specific foreign terrorist organization that was previously identified to and approved by the court. NSA has reported that in 2012, fewer than 300 unique identifiers were used to query the data after meeting this standard. This means that only a very small fraction of the records is ever reviewed by any person, and only specially cleared counterterrorism personnel specifically trained in the court-approved procedures can access the records to conduct queries. The information generated in response to these limited queries is not only relevant to authorized investigations of international terrorism, but may be especially significant in helping the government identify and disrupt terrorist plots.

 

The large volume of telephony metadata is relevant to FBI investigations into specific foreign terrorist organizations because the intelligence tools that NSA uses to identify the existence of potential terrorist communications within the data require collecting and storing large volumes of the metadata to enable later analysis. If not collected and held by NSA, the metadata may not continue to be available for the period that NSA has deemed necessary for national security purposes because it need not be retained by telecommunications service providers. Moreover, unless the data is aggregated by NSA, it may not be possible to identify telephony

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metadata records that cross different telecommunications networks. The bulk collection of telephony metadata--i.e. the collection of a large volume and high percentage of information about unrelated communications--is therefore necessary to identify the much smaller subset of terrorist-related telephony metadata records contained within the data. It also allows NSA to make connections related to terrorist activities over time and can assist counterterrorism personnel to discover whether known or suspected terrorists have been in contact with other persons who may be engaged in terrorist activities, including persons and activities inside the United States. Because the telephony metadata must be available in bulk to allow NSA to identify the records of terrorist communications, there are ``reasonable grounds to believe'' that the data is relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism, as section 215 requires, even though most of the records in the dataset are not associated with terrorist activity.

 

The program is consistent with the Constitution as well as with the statute. As noted above, the only type of information acquired under the program is telephony metadata, not the content of any communications, not the identity, address or financial information of any party to the communication, and not geolocational information. Under longstanding Supreme Court precedent, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to this kind of information that individuals have already provided to third-party businesses, and such information therefore is not protected by the Fourth Amendment. See Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 739-42 (1979).

 

Moreover, it is important to bear in mind that activities carried out pursuant to FISA, including those conducted under this program, are subject to stringent limitations and robust oversight by all three branches of government. As noted above, by order of the FISC, the Government is prohibited from indiscriminately sifting through the telephony metadata it acquires. Instead, all information that is acquired is subject to strict, court-imposed restrictions on review and handling that provide significant and reasonable safeguards for U.S. persons. The basis for a query must be documented in writing in advance and must be approved by one of a limited number of highly trained analysts. The FISC reviews the program approximately every 90 days.

 

The Department of Justice conducts rigorous oversight to ensure the telephony metadata is being handled in strict compliance with the FISC's orders, and the Department of Justice and The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) conduct thorough and regular reviews to ensure the program is implemented in compliance with the law.

 

The program is also subject to extensive congressional oversight. The classified details of the program have been briefed to the Judiciary and Intelligence Committees on many occasions. In addition, in December 2009, the Department of Justice worked with the Intelligence Community to provide a classified briefing paper to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to be made available to all Members of Congress regarding the telephony metadata collection program. It is our understanding that both Intelligence Committees made this document available to all Members prior to the February 2010 reauthorization of section 215. That briefing paper clearly explained that the government and the FISC had interpreted Section 215 to authorize the collection of telephony metadata in bulk. An updated version of the briefing paper was provided to the Senate and House Intelligence Committees again in February 2011 in connection with the reauthorization that occurred later that year.

 

Finally, we do not agree with the suggestion in your letter that the Department's March 9, 2011 public testimony on section 215 conveyed a misleading impression as to how this authority is used. Quoting a portion of that testimony, your letter states that it ``left the committee with the impression that the Administration was using the business records provision sparingly and for specific materials. The recently released FISA order, however, could not have been drafted more broadly,'' In fact, key language in the testimony in question noted that orders issued pursuant to section 215 ``have also been used to support important and highly sensitive intelligence collection operations, on which this committee and others have been separately briefed.'' We hope that the explanation above regarding the use of this authority to identify specific terrorism-related telephony metadata records helps to clarify the point.

 

The recent unauthorized disclosure of this and other classified intelligence activities has caused serious harm to our national security. Since the disclosure of the telephony metadata collection program, the Department of Justice and the Intelligence Community have worked to ensure that Congress and the American people understand how the program operates, its importance to our security, and the rigorous oversight that is applied. As part of this effort, senior officials from ODNI, NSA, DOJ and FI31 provided a classified briefing for all House Members on June 11, 2013 and separate classified briefings to the House Democratic Caucus and the House Republican Conference on June 26, 2013.

 

The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that our efforts to protect national security are conducted lawfully and respect the privacy and civil liberties of all Americans. We look forward to continuing to work with you and others in the Congress to ensure that we meet this objective.

We hope this information is helpful. Please do not hesitate to contact this office if we may provide additional assistance with this or any other matter.

Sincerely,

Peter J. Kadzik,
Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General.

 

Mr. AMASH. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Barton).

(Mr. BARTON asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. BARTON. I thank the gentleman.

Madam Chair, this is not about how sincere the NSA people are in implementing this technique. It is not about how careful they are. It is whether they have the right to collect the data in the first place on every phone call on every American every day.

The PATRIOT Act did not specifically authorize it. Section 215 talks about tangible things that are relevant to an authorized security investigation. In the NSA's interpretation of that, ``relevant'' is all data all the time. That is simply wrong. We should support the Amash amendment and vote for it.

 

Mr. AMASH. Madam Chair, I yield 15 seconds to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Duncan).

Mr. DUNCAN of South Carolina. Madam Chair, amendment IV:

 

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, house, 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.

 

Those who choose to trade liberty for security will find they have neither.

 

Mr. AMASH. Madam Chair, I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe).

Mr. POE of Texas. Warrants need to be particular and specific about the place to be searched and the items to be seized.

 

No judge would ever sign a general search warrant like the British did, allowing the police to search every house on the block, much less seize everybody's phone records, but this is what has happened under section 215 under the government.

 

The government has gone too far in the name of security and the Fourth Amendment has been bruised.

 

Rein in government invasion. No more dragnet operations. Get a specific warrant based on probable cause, or stay out of our lives.

 

And that's just the way it is.

Mr. AMASH. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Nadler).

Mr. NADLER. Madam Chairperson, this amendment stops the government from misusing section 215, to engage in the dragnet collection of all of our personal telephone records. Congress did not grant the executive the authority to collect everything it wants so long as it limits any subsequent search of that data.

 

This amendment restores the requirement that records sought are relevant to an authorized foreign intelligence or terrorist investigation. It restores the minimal relevant standard required by Congress but ignored by successive administrations.

No administration should be permitted to operate above or beyond the law as they have done in this respect. I therefore urge all of my colleagues to vote in favor of the Amash-Conyers amendment.

Mr. AMASH. I yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Griffith).

 

Mr. GRIFFITH of Virginia. General warrants, writs of assistance, that's what we're looking at, and the Founding Fathers found that to be anathema. What they're doing does violate the Fourth Amendment. We took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and we're supposed to rely on a secret agency that deals with a secret court that deals with a selective secrecy committee; and Members of Congress are limited to their access to the actions of that committee, but we're supposed to trust them.

 

Folks, we've got a job to do. Vote ``yes.''

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Guest LAW

Mr. AMASH. Madam Chair, may I inquire as to how much time remains?

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Michigan has 45 seconds remaining, and the gentleman from Florida has 2 minutes remaining.

 

Mr. AMASH. I yield 30 seconds to the gentlelady from Hawaii (Ms. Gabbard).

 

Ms. GABBARD. Madam Chairwoman, countless men and women from my State of Hawaii and all across the country have worn the uniform and put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and our liberties. I cannot in good conscience vote to take a single dollar from the pockets of hardworking taxpayers from across the country to pay for programs which infringe on the very liberties and freedoms our troops have fought and died for.

 

Ben Franklin said:

 

They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

 

Mr. AMASH. Madam Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

We're here to answer one question for the people we represent: Do we oppose the suspicion list collection of every American's phone records?

 

When you had the chance to stand up for Americans' privacy, did you?

Please support the Amash amendment and oppose the NSA's blanket surveillance of our constituents.

 

I yield back the balance of my time.

 

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Madam Chairwoman, I yield 2 minutes for the closing argument to the gentleman from Arkansas (Mr. Cotton).

 

Mr. COTTON. Madam Chairwoman, I rise to strongly urge opposition to the Amash amendment.

This program has stopped dozens of terrorist attacks. That means it's saved untold American lives.

 

This amendment is not simple. It does not limit the program. It does not modify it. It does not constrain the program. It ends the program. It blows it up. Some of you've heard the analogy that if you want to search for a needle in a haystack, you have to have the haystack. This takes a leaf blower and blows away the entire haystack. You will not have this program if this amendment passes. And it does so, despite all of the safeguards you have already heard.

 

This program is constitutional under Supreme Court precedent--not recent precedent. Precedent goes back to 1979, just 2 years after I was born, the year that one of the young sponsors of this amendment was born. This program is approved by large bipartisan majorities of this body on the statute--text that they approved, not their secret intents or wishes.

 

It is overseen by article III judges who have been confirmed by the Senate and are independent of the executive branch. It is reviewed by the Intelligence Committees, and it is executed primarily by military officers, not generals, but the majors and the colonels who have been fighting and bleeding for this country for 12 years.

 

What is it, metadata? It sounds kind of scary. It's nothing more than an Excel spreadsheet with five columns: called to, called from, date, time, and the duration. Five columns, billions of rows. It's in a lockbox. It can't be searched unless you have specific suspicion of a number being used by a terrorist. Only then do they go into that database and do they run a search for what that number has been calling.

 

Why do you need it? Verizon, AT&T, other companies will not keep this data for the years necessary. Secondly, you need it quickly. When I was in Iraq as a platoon leader with the 101st Airborne, if we rolled up a bad guy and we found a cell phone or we found a thumb drive, we would immediately upload that data so intelligence professionals could search it so they could go roll up another bad guy, because you only have a few hours to stop a terrorist once you catch another terrorist.

 

Folks, we are at war. You may not like that truth. I wish it weren't the truth. But it is the truth. We're at war. Do not take this tool away from our warriors on the frontline.

 

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. I yield back the balance of my time.

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Guest LAW

WASHINGTON –The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing titled “Strengthening Privacy Rights and National Security: Oversight of FISA Surveillance Programs.” Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has long called for strong oversight of government surveillance programs, and he recently introduced the bipartisan FISA Accountability and Privacy Protection Act of 2013, which would add important reforms and improve certain provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and FISA Amendments Act.

 

Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),

Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,

>Hearing on “Strengthening Privacy Rights and National Security:

Oversight of FISA Surveillance Programs

July 31, 2013

 

Today, the Judiciary Committee will scrutinize government surveillance programs conducted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. In the years since September 11th, Congress has repeatedly expanded the scope of FISA, and given the Government sweeping new powers to collect information on law-abiding Americans – and we must carefully consider now whether those laws have gone too far.

 

Last month, many Americans learned for the first time that one of these authorities – Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act – has for years been secretly interpreted to authorize the collection of Americans’ phone records on an unprecedented scale. Information was also leaked about Section 702 of FISA, which authorizes NSA to collect the communications of foreigners overseas.

 

Let me make clear that I do not condone the way these and other highly classified programs were disclosed, and I am concerned about the potential damage to our intelligence-gathering capabilities and national security. We need to hold people accountable for allowing such a massive leak to occur, and we need to examine how to prevent this type of breach in the future.

 

In the wake of these leaks, the President said that this is an opportunity to have an open and thoughtful debate about these issues. I welcome that statement, because this is a debate that several of us on this Committee have been trying to have for years. And if we are going to have the debate that the President called for, the executive branch must be a full partner. We need straightforward answers and I am concerned that we are not getting them.

 

Just recently, the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged that he provided false testimony about the NSA surveillance programs during a Senate hearing in March, and his office had to remove a fact sheet from its website after concerns were raised about its accuracy. I appreciate that it is difficult to talk about classified programs in public settings, but the American people expect and deserve honest answers.

 

It also has been far too difficult to get a straight answer about the effectiveness of the Section 215 phone records program. Whether this program is a critical national security tool is a key question for Congress as we consider possible changes to the law. Some supporters of this program have repeatedly conflated the efficacy of the Section 215 bulk metadata collection program with that of Section 702 of FISA. I do not think this is a coincidence, and it needs to stop. The patience and trust of the American people is starting to wear thin.

 

I asked General Alexander about the effectiveness of the Section 215 phone records program at an Appropriations Committee hearing last month, and he agreed to provide a classified list of terrorist events that Section 215 helped to prevent. I have reviewed that list. Although I agree that it speaks to the value of the overseas content collection implemented under Section 702, it does not do the same with for Section 215. The list simply does not reflect dozens or even several terrorist plots that Section 215 helped thwart or prevent – let alone 54, as some have suggested.

 

These facts matter. This bulk collection program has massive privacy implications. The phone records of all of us in this room reside in an NSA database. I have said repeatedly that just because we have the ability to collect huge amounts of data does not mean that we should be doing so. In fact, it has been reported that the bulk collection of Internet metadata was shut down because it failed to produce meaningful intelligence. We need to take an equally close look at the phone records program. If this program is not effective, it must end. And so far, I am not convinced by what I have seen.

 

I am sure that we will hear from witnesses today who will say that these programs are critical in helping to identify and connect the so-called “dots.” But there will always be more “dots” to collect, analyze, and try to connect. The Government is already collecting data on millions of innocent Americans on a daily basis, based on a secret legal interpretation of a statute that does not on its face appear to authorize this type of bulk collection. What will be next? And when is enough, enough?

 

Congress must carefully consider the powerful surveillance tools that we grant to the Government, and ensure that there is stringent oversight, accountability, and transparency. This debate should not be limited to those surveillance programs about which information was leaked. That is why I have introduced a bill that addresses not only Section 215 and Section 702, but also National Security Letters, roving wiretaps, and other authorities under the PATRIOT Act. As we have seen in the case of ECPA reform, the protection of Americans’ privacy is not a partisan issue. I thank Senator Lee and others for their support of my FISA bill, and hope that other Senators will join our efforts.

 

Today, I look forward to the testimony of the Government witnesses and outside experts. I am particularly grateful for the participation of Judge Carr, a current member of the judiciary and a former judge of the FISA Court. I hope that today’s hearing will provide an opportunity for an open debate about the law, the policy, and the FISA Court process that led us to this point. We must do all that we can to ensure our nation’s security while protecting the fundamental liberties that make this country great.

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Guest LAW

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing

“Strengthening Privacy Rights and National Security:Oversight of FISA Surveillance Programs”

July 31, 2013

 

Prepared Remarks of James G. Carr,

Sr. U.S. District Judge

N.D. Ohio

 

Having been asked to appear here following the publication in the New York Times on July 23,

2013, of an op ed article suggesting an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Act, I do so with

the caveat that whatever I say or have written on the subject of the oped expresses my views

alone. I do not mean to bypass the normal process by which the Judiciary proposes legislation. I

speak for myself and no one else.

 

The proposal I made in the oped piece is whether it would be worthwhile for the judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, when a government FISA application raises a new or novel issue of constitutional or statutory interpretation, to have discretion to designate a previously security cleared attorney to challenge the government’s request.

 

Such appointment would not be frequent, and would not occur in the routine kind of cases making up the day in, day out docket of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

.

Rarely does a FISA application present any challenging issues under the statute. The probable
cause standard is much lower than for a conventional search warrant. Once the government

meets that standard, judges must issue the FISA order. Once in a very great while, however, a FISA application raises a novel, substantial, and very difficult issue of law. In such circumstances, the FISC judge (or judges, sitting en banc) may desire to hear not just the government’s views in support of the request, but reasons from an independent attorney as to why the court should not issue the order in whole or part. This process would give the court the benefit of the give and take that is the hallmark of the adversarial process.

 

 

In addition, review by the Foreign Intelligence Court of Review would occur, as it does not now, where the government had prevailed before the FISC.

 

Today, only the government, as the only party before the FISC, is in a position to appeal, which it is not likely to do where the FISC has granted its request. Where such review were available and pursued, public concern about the decisions of the FISC should moderate. This would be so, whether or not the opinion of the Court of Review became public. If implemented, my recommendation about appointment of counsel would also make possible ultimate review by the Supreme Court.

 

I can foresee at least one objection to what I propose. Namely, no one besides the government

appears when the government seeks an ordinary search warrant in a conventional criminal investigation. But the subject of a conventional Fourth Amendment search warrant knows of its

execution, can challenge its lawfulness if indicted, and can, even if not indicted, seek to recover

seized property or possibly sue for damages. In contrast, except in very, very rare instances, suppression or other means of challenging the lawfulness of a FISA order is simply not available to the subject of a FISA order.

 

Even on the infrequent occasion when a FISA target becomes charged in a criminal case, he will, as a result of the procedures mandated in the Classified Information Procedures Act almost never have the opportunity to challenge the FISA order. Thus, although all conventional search warrants issue ex parte, their execution informs the subject of the warrant’s issuance. Once the subject knows of the warrant, the law gives that subject several ways in which to challenge the lawfulness of the warrant and search. This is not so with a FISA order.

 

Another concern would arise where the FISC must, due to emergency circumstances, act immediately. The FISA already authorizes the government to act without a FISA order in emergency circumstances. In such cases, it must still seek post hoc FISC approval for the surveillance. In such circumstances, the FISC judge could designate counsel at that stage. In any event, new constitutional issues probably would not arise in emergency circumstances.

 

My recommendation, while offering some substantial potential benefits to the court’s processes

and public generally, is very modest. It would not affect the court’s day to day operations. It would remain for an individual judge to determine whether to invoke this option on the infrequent occasion that the judge concluded doing so would be useful.

 

Finally, I emphasize again that these comments, and anything that I may say in response to the

Committee’s questions, express my views alone, not those of the Federal Judiciary, any other

judge, or any one else. While I think what I ask the Committee to consider is worthwhile, only

time can tell whether others do as well.

 

Thank you for this opportunity to submit these Remarks and the attached copy of the oped piece

which is the occasion for my being here.

 

Webcast : Strengthening Privacy Rights and National Security: Oversight of FISA Surveillance Programs

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Guest Libertarian

The U.S. Domestic Drone program needs 4th amendment oversight on all invasive technology.

 

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Guest Wikileaks

We would like to thank the Russian people and all those others who have helped to protect Mr. Snowden. We have won the battle--now the war.

 

 

post-2502-0-37426700-1375365934_thumb.jpg

 

 

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Unless Edward Snowden has something more to say, then I think it is time to be the martyr for freedom and come back to the United States. His argument would be more powerful with the American people knowing that he could choose to hide, but instead be a light for liberty.

 

I think the way Congress on both sides of the aisle are handling these public hearings with dignity and looking out for the American people.

 

But, there has to be a balance. It is not fair that there is no lawyer present in a secret court that does not protect the rights of the American people. At present there is only a judge and prosecution with no defense attorney. That means that if you or I get monitored there is nothing we can do to defend ourselves legally. That is just not American. We are the greatest country in the world. We cannot let fear destroy our greatness.

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Guest OUR America Initiative

Did you see this?? Google 'Pressure Cookers' and 'Backpacks,' Get a Visit from the Cops

 

It's possible that one of the two of them is tangentially linked to a foreign terror suspect, allowing the government to review their internet activity. After all, that "no more than two other people" ends up covering millions of people. Or perhaps the NSA, as part of its routine collection of as much internet traffic as it can, automatically flags things like Google searches for "pressure cooker" and "backpack" and passes on anything it finds to the FBI.

Or maybe it was something else. On Wednesday, The Guardian reported on XKeyscore, a program eerily similar to Facebook search that could clearly allow an analyst to run a search that picked out people who'd done searches for those items from the same location. How those searches got into the government's database is a question worth asking; how the information got back out seems apparent.

A woman searches the Internet for information about pressure cookers. Her husband checks out backpacks online. Then...six law enforcement investigators show up at their home and start asking questions.

But the government assures us no one is reading our emails or spying on our Internet searches. They are just collecting data -- a LOT of it -- in case they need it to protect us.


Yes, government has a responsibility to protect us, but it also has a rather solemn obligation to protect this, the 4th Amendment to the Constitution:


“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.”


Clearly, the President and Congress aren’t interested in protecting the 4th Amendment. They are the ones attacking it. So...It’s up to you and me. Will you help me?


America has fought wars and shed blood to defend the liberties embodied in the Constitution. But who’s defending those liberties now? It certainly isn’t the politicians. That’s why the Our America Initiative has launched a special Live Free Project specifically to mobilize and give voice to Americans who are ready to push back against the assault on our freedoms. Your contribution today at Stand Up 4 the 4th will help us knock on the government’s doors before they come knocking on ours -- just because somebody in the house Googled “pressure cookers”.


This week, I was on the Mike Huckabee Show talking about the NSA and other threats to liberty. Next week I will be in Los Angeles for more events and national media appearances. That’s my job with the Our America Initiative -- to speak up and speak out. But I can’t do it alone. We need to reach millions of Americans and help them take action.

 

Liberty IS under attack, and the politicians won’t stop until we stand up and speak out loudly enough that they HAVE to listen. You and I can make that happen. I’m ready. Are you?


I look forward to hearing from you. We have a great deal of work to do.


Thanks!

 

Gov. Gary Johnson

Honorary Chairman


P.S. With your help, we CAN restore the 4th Amendment’s protections. But we can’t wait. Go to Stand Up 4 the 4th today and help us do some door knocking of our own.

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Guest Give Me Liberty

What Privacy? New Snowden leaks reveal UK telecom giants play ball with GHQ

 

 

Operation Tempora

 

Tempora, as reported by The Guardian newspaper, is a clandestine security electronic surveillance program began in 2008, established in 2011 and operated by the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). The data collected by the Tempora program is shared with the National Security Agency of the United States.

 

=============================================

 

The US government has paid at least £100m to the UK spy agency GCHQ over the last three years to secure access to and influence over Britain's intelligence gathering programmes.

 

The top secret payments are set out in documents which make clear that the Americans expect a return on the investment, and that GCHQ has to work hard to meet their demands. "GCHQ must pull its weight and be seen to pull its weight," a GCHQ strategy briefing said.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/01/nsa-paid-gchq-spying-edward-snowden

 

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, tucked a provision into the 2014 fiscal-year defense-spending bill that would require the NSA to report to Congress — within 90 days after the legislation becomes law — on the precise number of phone records collected, the total reviewed by NSA employees and all bulk collection activities, including how much they cost and when they began.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/national_world/2013/08/03/senator-asks-for-more-transparency-by-nsa.html

“I do think that we're going to have to make some changes to make things more transparent,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, appearing alongside Durbin on ABC’s Sunday talk show.

http://www.ibtimes.com/nsa-fisa-metadata-program-new-momentum-nsa-reform-after-amash-amendment-senators-say-1362865

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People were jumping the gun on this article by the Atlantic Wire. Including me

 

 

A woman searches the Internet for information about pressure cookers. Her husband checks out backpacks online. Then...six law enforcement investigators show up at their home and start asking questions.

But the government assures us no one is reading our emails or spying on our Internet searches. They are just collecting data -- a LOT of it -- in case they need it to protect us.


Yes, government has a responsibility to protect us, but it also has a rather solemn obligation to protect this, the 4th Amendment to the Constitution:

 

Turns out both victim, the Atlantic Wire, and the Guardian were wrong. It was the Computer company that spotted the keywords and tipped off the cops. Which in this world we live in is the right thing to do.

 

Late on Thursday, Suffolk County police said its investigation was in fact prompted by a tipoff, and not covert monitoring. "Suffolk County criminal intelligence detectives received a tip from a Bay Shore based computer company regarding suspicious computer searches conducted by a recently released employee," Suffolk County said in a statement.

"The former employee's computer searches took place on this employee's workplace computer. On that computer, the employee searched the terms 'pressure cooker bombs' and 'backpacks'."
The computer company's police report prompted a visit to Catalano's home by "six gentleman in casual clothes" who "all had guns in their waistbands", as she described the agents.

"After interviewing the company representatives, Suffolk county police detectives visited the subject's home to ask about the suspicious internet searches," the statement from police continued. "The incident was investigated by Suffolk County police department's criminal intelligence detectives and was determined to be non-criminal in nature."

Catalano says she and her husband were "led to believe [the investigation came] solely from searches from within our house". She wrote about the experience on medium.com, prompting outrage at what was taken by somme commenters to be an example of government intrusion into personal privacy.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/02/suffolk-county-home-search-tipoff


This is an example why the American people need better transparency from government and corporations. Just like how research aircraft lead to alien abductions. If you believe those stories then you should visit the Mothman museum in West Virginia. They will gladly accept your donation.

 

Contractors like Snowden and employees of our government like Manning have to face the law for what they have done. Even if it is wrong or right. Once you have quit working for the military , then things change and you may want to " tell your story " as many do.

 

To me what Snowden did was enlightening. But, I am losing more respect that he is hiding

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Guest NFS Leasing

Last week, secure email providers Lavabit and Silent Circle’s Silent Mail product were shut down.

Lavabit, famous since June when it was revealed that Edward Snowden used the service to secure his email, uses a number of strategies, particularly asymmetrical encryption, to protect users’ email from prying eyes. Lavabit’s founder, Ladar Levison, was unable to say why he was closing his business but hinted the reason had to do with US government pressure.

Silent Circle, on the other hand, closed its private email service Silent Email preemptively; the company said in a blog post they could “see the writing on the wall” and that the company was unable to offer the same privacy guarantees it had before the government surveillance program PRISM was revealed, shut the service down.

Silent Circle products are rumored to have been used by large news organizations, the British government, and even US government agencies. Read More...

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Guest Always Red

John Hayward has a good position on what is going on...

 

President Obama's position on domestic spying has been that it's not happening, and if it is, it's all being handled with the greatest of care. Both of those talking points died when the Washington Post released the results of a secret NSA internal audit, provided to them by the notorious Edward Snowden. It turns out there have been over 2,000 violations of protocol, privacy laws, and in at least one case, the Constitution. The NSA says not to worry, because they're harvesting so much data that 2,000 mistakes is a tiny percentage. That's... not really very comforting.

 

Scale has always been one of the disturbing aspects of the "surveillance state" controversy. The American people generally support measures designed to fight terrorism and improve domestic security. But they don't imagine those measures will be directed at everyone, producing millions of intercepts and meta-data collections instead of targeting surveillance at thousands of suspects. To turn the NSA's defense of this audit report on its head, common sense tells us that acceptable margins of error become troubling when the size of the program increases by several orders of magnitude.

 

Also, even the most security-conscious Americans expect strict oversight and due process, respecting both the right to privacy and the presumption of innocence. But this eyebrow-raising internal audit was kept so far under wraps that even Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, didn't know about it. That's also not very comforting to know.

 

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Guest Dennis Trainor, Jr



Earlier this year, as the Edward Snowden story was just starting to break, Michael Grunwald – the Time magazine senior national correspondent and poster boy for everything wrong with journalism, no strike that, poster boy for everything wrong with the blowback inducing homicidal bull in a cultural, religious and geopolitical china shop of US foreign policy that I like to call manifest destiny’s child, wrote that he “could not wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange. “

While it might be a stretch to imagine that Julian Assange is on Barack Obama’s infamous kill list- there is a overt trend to brand journalists as terrorists. If the objective behind this trend is successful, it might grant Michael Grunwald his sadistic wish after all.

For example, this week it was revealed that British police are examining whether Guardian newspaper staff should be investigated for terrorism offenses over their handling of data leaked by Edward Snowden, Britain’s senior counter-terrorism officer said on Tuesday.

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