Lawmakers Endorse NSA spying with bizarre justification
Source: Steve Watson
The Democratic leadership nailed its colors to the big brother surveillance state mast firmly yesterday, with many voting in favor of NSA spying. Most bizarre, however, was the party line justification for doing so.
As noted in an article at The Huffington Post, the Democratic whip Steny Hoyer, whose role is to convince party members to toe the line and vote in accordance with the Obama administration, sent around a startling message to House Democrats.
While attempting to justify complete violation of the Fourth Amendment, Hoyer urged Democrats that the NSA snooping program recently exposed by Edward Snowden was aimed primarily at Americans who are attempting to communicate with terrorists.
According to the article, Hoyer’s emailed floor update read:
Amash/Conyers/Mulvaney/Polis/Massie Amendment – Bars the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act (as codified by Section 501 of FISA) to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who may be in communication with terrorist groups but are not already subject to an investigation under Section 215
Really? Did any Democrats actually believe this?
The entire reason why the vote on the NSA program was taking place was because of the revelations that the snooping is aimed at every American.
The raging debate on the surveillance tactics was enflamed only because it was proven that the PRISM operation was all encompassing.
The NSA was shown to be operationally recording every single phone call, email, text and instant message made in America and beyond. Even the most casual of news readers is aware of this.
For Democrat leaders to attempt to convince representatives that the program was aimed only at select individuals is grossly misleading at best, and at worst is just an outright lie.
That is unless you assume that every single American “may be in communication with terrorist groups” – and therein lies the rub.
Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the Snowden/NSA revelations, writes of the Democratic leadership today:
“Not only did they all vote against de-funding the NSA bulk domestic spying program… but Pelosi’s deputy, Steny Hoyer, whipped against the bill by channeling the warped language and mentality of Dick Cheney.”
“How well they have learned: now, a bill to ban the government from collecting the telephone records of all Americans, while expressly allowing it to collect the records of anyone for whom there is evidence of wrongdoing, is – in the language of the House Democratic Leadership – a bill to Protect The Terrorists.” Greenwald added.
Greenwald adds that the position of the Democratic leadership on NSA spying is nothing new, given that Nancy Pelosi was secretly briefed on the illegal Bush NSA warrantless eavesdropping program, BEFORE details were leaked by the New York Times in 2005. Pelosi put up a false air of opposition to the program when the details were revealed, but it was clear that the Democratic leadership was going along with the program.
“So the history of Democratic leaders such as Nancy Pelosi isn’t one of opposition to mass NSA spying when Bush was in office, only to change positions now that Obama is.” Greenwald writes.
“The history is of pretend opposition – of deceiving their supporters by feigning opposition – while actually supporting it.”