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Rick Moran


August 18, 2013 - 11:27 am

Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash told CNN’s State of the Union that he would push the House for another vote to defund the NSA telephone and internet surveillance programs. An effort in the House last month fell short by just 12 votes, 217-205.

Since then, the revelation that thousands of violations of privacy rules occurred in the NSA programs have roiled Congress, angering even many Democrats. Amash thinks that because of those revelations, another vote would by successful.

The Hill reports:

“I’m hopeful that we’ll have another opportunity,” said Amash on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “It might not be exactly the same amendment.”

A measure from Amash which would have prevented the NSA from collecting phone records of American citizens not under investigation for any crimes was narrowly defeated last month in the House.

Amash, though, vowed Sunday to continue efforts to curb the NSA’s powers.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll have a way to amend some kind of policy legislation in the future,” he said.

The vote on Amash’s amendment came before the most recent leak by Edward Snowden, which detailed an NSA audit that found thousands of instances in which the privacy of Americans had been violated in the agency’s effort to gather intelligence.

Amash said that he’s confident many of his House colleagues would change their vote in light of the new revelations and that his measure would stand a better chance at passage.

He said the American public and lawmakers are becoming increasingly aware of how flawed the NSA’s programs are, emphasizing that Congress needs to take steps to increase its oversight of intelligence gathering operations.

“The system’s not working,” said Amash. “Americans were told by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee that there were zero privacy violations and we know that’s not true.”

Meanwhile, Virginia Republican Morgan Griffith told the Washington Times that “more like 20-30″ members would be willing to switch their vote:

“We only needed seven votes to switch and I think there were at least seven, probably more like 20-30, who had their concerns about the program but were prepared to give the intelligence agencies the benefit of the doubt,” Rep. Morgan Griffith, Virginia Republican, told The Washington Times after the NSA rules violations came to light.

The House in late July voted 217-205 to defeat an amendment that would have cut funds for domestic data gathering by the NSA except where based on individualized suspicion.

Mr. Griffith says that the intelligence community, which defended the program and worked to preserve it against the legislation onslaught, misled Congress.

“We were being told there were ‘some’ errors, like a few,” Mr. Griffith said, referring to sworn congressional testimony about the domestic programs from senior intelligence, FBI and Justice Department officials. “They gave everyone the impression these [errors] were very rare. If [my colleagues] had realized how many [violations of privacy protection or legal rules] there were, I think more than seven of them would have switched.”

Rand Paul thinks that the constitutionality of the surveillance programs should be decided by the Supreme Court:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday called for a Supreme Court review of the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s top-secret surveillance programs, arguing that congressional hearings and new safeguards announced by President Obama might not be sufficient to ensure privacy rights.

“I think the constitutionality of these programs needs to be questioned, and there needs to be a Supreme Court decision that looks at whether what they are doing is constitutional or not,” Paul told “Fox News Sunday.”


“The checks and balances are supposed to come from independent branches of government,” Paul said. “So he thinks that if gets some lawyers together from the NSA, and they do a powerpoint presentation and tell him everything’s ok, that the NSA can police itself.”

He also accused the National Security Agency and White House of deliberately misleading Congress and the public about ongoing surveillance programs.

“They chose not to report the program, period,” Paul said. “They said they weren’t looking at any American data or any phone calls, and it turns out they’re looking at billions of phone calls every day.”

Paul, who has admitted to weighing a 2016 presidential bid, added that “the only way to find justice is to hear both sides.”

“There really needs to be a discussion of people who are more skeptical of the NSA in an open court, I think before the Supreme Court.”

The last time Amash brought the issue to a vote, the GOP leadership backed him. But no one expected the vote to be that close, and the GOP leadership does not want to get into a pissing match with Obama about which side is stronger on terrorism. Amash is likely to have considerably more difficulty in getting another vote.

That is, unless there has been a sea change in sentiment on both sides of the aisle, in which case a vote would be pro-forma. This is possible. The Washington Post revelations have unsettled many in Congress and it is reported that members are really hearing about NSA snooping from constituents during this recess.

What mood will they be in when they get back? Second time may be the charm for Mr. Amash.

More: Snowden E-Mail Provider Under Threat of Arrest for Non-Cooperation

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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All Comments   (11)
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How else are we supposed to keep union gulag workers employed? This is job creation and we should all be on board with whatever it takes.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This poor reporting and even worse commentary is disgusting. If you read the actual text of the WasPo article rather than the sensational headline, less than 3000 out of millions of intercepts violated policy. Out of that less than 3000 (less than one-one hundredth of a percent), 80% were due to bad programming or mis-typing.

That means no malfeasance, no abuse. Americans were not targeted and when the mistake occurred, it was noted and corrected. The records were not retained and not searched.

That's in the article. So what it really says that there is extensive training by NSA employees, effective oversight, and that when human errors were made, they were corrected.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Did Rick say a "pissing match"? I've had comments tossed out on PJM for less than that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
P.S., as for the substance? ObamaCare poses so huge a threat to the nation that, all else is postponable to me.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We have lost our nation unto those who claim to defend it; and even as the traitors assert an unfamiliar &defective brand of reason and judgment for their indefensible actions against us, we may see all around us the signs of disintegration of all that is most valued by free men: liberty, privacy, preservation of our name and our work, freedom to associate and the ability to use our brains unfettered by high tech assaults (DEW) and untouched by the tyranny of those men who are ambitious of power and who are imbued with a contempt of law and a disdain for human rights.Alt links:

See my reports on violence as a virus (alt links):
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Unfortunately, we have a mostly unavoidable disaster in the making. The best we can hope for not is damage control.

The human problem is , for the most part, China. For their intention is to develop the capability to crash all our computer nets----including CIA and Military-----at one time. They finance this ongoing effort by stealing enough to run their operation in the black. EVERYBODY gets penetrated or hacked or both.

Any effort to monitor or counter these efforts cannot avoid invading Americans privacy. Simply looking at where the incoming goes has NSA or anybody else looking at large numbers of folks who have nothing to do with any hostile force or actions.

Choices are either (a) privacy invaded or (b) no defense at all against a cyber Pearl Harbor. They started it, we have to live with it or die by it.

Read these words and weep. Then start figuring out some corrective legislation and procedures that will see us through the next decade or three. I can think of some but will not try to enumerate them at this time.

So Mote It Be!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well said.

That 'mote' might become a two-by-four upside the critics' head.

It's strange that this supposedly cyber-hip generation who so gleefully and playfully publish pictures of their genitals on the ....gasp!.....Internet....are at the same time huffing and puffing over the ...exposure....of their communications ..."privacy"...good grief.

Even more strange is this refusal to accept that these infernal computers have indeed changed just about every facet of our contemporary lives. Along with this is the lethal refusal to accept the fact that we are at war with these Muslims, Chinese, and Russians who're very, very good at penetrating our computer systems. Our water supply is at risk...don't smirk.

The Muslims, for example make it abundantly clear by reminding us constantly that they are at war with the West in general, and America in particular.

This octogenarian clicking away here retains vivid memories of Pearl Harbor from the day it happened.

But this contemporary generation with their attention spans now so truncated by their computer use has apparently forgotten about 11 September, 2001.

That was "so yesterday"? How very sad.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A reminder to emphasize my thought,

".....And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
At some point, hopefully before it is to late, even the Democrats
will recognize that Obama and the Progressive Putsch are a threat
to them personally; They will be replaced by true believers, recalled
by their constituents, or bribed into cooperating with the takeover,
using data collected by the NSA.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Just when, is sworn testimony, before Congress, by FBI and Justice Department officials, that turns out to be blatant lies, going to result in prosecutions and jail time for these government officials?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The last time Amash brought the issue to a vote, the GOP leadership backed him. But no one expected the vote to be that close, and the GOP leadership does not want to get into a pissing match with Obama about which side is stronger on terrorism. Amash is likely to have considerably more difficulty in getting another vote."

Is there anything about which they will oppose King Obama?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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