THE TIPPING point was reached last week when an obscure libertarian Republican named Rep. Amash did the impossible. He wouldn’t give up until his colleagues heard his case against NSA surveillance that the Obama administration has utilized to alarming degree.
The movement against the N.S.A. began with the fringes of each party. Mr. Amash of Michigan began pressing for an amendment on the annual military spending bill aimed at the N.S.A. Leaders of the Intelligence Committee argued strenuously that such an amendment was not relevant to military spending and should be ruled out of order. Mr. Sensenbrenner and Ms. Lofgren said they were willing to work with the House and Senate intelligence panels to overhaul the surveillance programs, but indicated that they did not believe those panels were ready to go far enough. [New York Times]
Wyden said in an interview airing Sunday that the secret surveillance court used by federal officials to seek further permission to track terrorism suspects “is just anachronistic.”
“They’re using processes that simply don’t fit the times,” Wyden said. “When the FISA Act was passed in the [1970s], nobody envisioned, for example, some of the astounding reach that the court has gone to with respect to the Patriot Act and its definition of relevance. The statute talks about relevance, in nowhere does it even suggest that you can collect the phone records of millions and millions of law-abiding Americans.”
This is all due to one person, Edward Snowden, who challenged President Obama and his administration by revealing what is now being widely viewed as policies that go well beyond what the American government should be able to force on we the people.
In fact, it’s now a bandwagon event, with more and more politicians jumping into the cause of protecting our liberty and rejecting the politics of fear that has held our country in its jaws since 9/11.
In that vein, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, is pushing a new plan to require the surveillance court to hear both sides of classified cases. And Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is proposing that judges selected to serve on the court first be confirmed by the Senate instead of just chosen by the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. [Washington Post]
None of this should be seen in a vacuum, however, because we know all it would take is one attack on the so-called “homeland,” a throw back term of the 20th century, to revive the “war on terror” ninnies, forgetting that all this surveillance wasn’t able to stop two young men in Massachusetts from terrorizing a sporting event.