Archive

nsa

2013-07-25_15h01_04

Yesterday, an amendment proposed by Rep. Amash that would have dramatically undermined the NSA’s authority to collect records on the phone calls of American citizens failed to pass. Proponents of the amendment claimed that it protected the Fourth Amendment rights of the public. Those opposed argued that it would erode national security.

The debate back and forth was perhaps the best encapsulation of the current conversation in Congress concerning the pervasive surveillance of the NSA that has recently become better known, mostly through the prism of leaks from the now fugitive Edward Snowden. That information has divided Congressional representatives and senators, demanding that they choose a side, at least rhetorically, on the issue.

Yesterday was a further step in the direction of accountability, albeit only in the lower chamber of Congress. The members had to vote yes or no on whether to defund a known – and previously lied about – program that collects private data on Americans sans their status as party to an investigation.

You’ve read coverage on the NSA for months, with commentary of all sorts taking positions on both the digital and telephonic collection practices of the agency. The following debate isn’t a cable news segment stacked with paid pundits, half-neck analysts, or think-tank hacks. Instead, this is our Congress, arguing with itself, about how to handle our privacy.

The amendment failed 205-217. That’s a defeat, but those in favor of its passage were greater in number than many, myself included, anticipated.

Enjoy [Debate begins at 16:40]:

Top Image Credit: Zoe Rudisill

2238010585_76c34a5a21

The National Security Agency experimented with a cell phone location tracking program in 2010, but eventually shelved the idea. Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, declassified the program during a senate testimony today on Capitol Hill.

“In 2010 and 2011 N.S.A. received samples in order to test the ability of its systems to handle the data format, but that data was not used for any other purpose and was never available for intelligence analysis purposes,” a draft of the report says, which was obtained early by The New York Times.

The NSA has repeatedly denied that it tracks Americans’ locations, but its secret documents reveal that GPS data is used to create a network of suspects tied to Americans.

“After years of stonewalling on whether the government has ever tracked or planned to track the location of law-abiding Americans through their cellphones, once again, the intelligence leadership has decided to leave most of the real story secret – even when the truth would not compromise national security,” Said Senator Ron Wyden.

Wyden has spearheaded a surveillance reform package that could actually pass, but will have to wait for President Obama’s NSA task force to issue its recommendations.

[Image Credit: Flickr User DeaPeaJay]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 120 other followers