FISA Reauthorization Delayed, But The Fight Against The Deep State Continues

in news •  7 months ago

On Wednesday the House Rules Committee decided to postpone a rushed vote on extending the controversial section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Civil liberties advocates won a battle on Wednesday after the House Rules Committee announced they would postpone a vote to reauthorize section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Activists feared the worst after Politico published a report on Tuesday claiming that a small group of “surveillance hawks” in the House of Representatives would attempt to force a bill that would extend NSA surveillance by approving section 702. Congress members have been attempting to wedge the controversial FISA vote within a “must-pass” end of the year spending bill. Despite such efforts, the House Rules Committee abandoned the rushed vote plan. 

 According the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Section 702 of FISA “allows the NSA to collect emails, browser history and chat logs of Americans. Section 702 also allows other agencies, like the FBI, to search through that data without a warrant. Those searches are called ‘backdoor searches.’”

The Trump administration has been supportive of the extension of section 702 of FISA, which is scheduled to end on December 31st.  The Anti Media previously reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was also fighting to save FISA. On September 7, Sessions and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats sent a letter to the leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate urging them to permanently reauthorize the controversial Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The EFF says the bill the surveillance hawks want to force through fails to secure the privacy of Americans. “If this bill passes, we will miss the opportunity to prevent the FBI from searching through NSA databases for American communications without a warrant,” the EFF writes. “Worse, nothing will be done to rein in the massive, unconstitutional surveillance of the NSA on Americans or innocent technology users worldwide.” 

Supporters of section 702 and FISA want a vote on an extension without any debate on the possibility of weakening or limiting the secret program. They face opposition from civil liberties advocates who want to vote on whether to end, amend, or extend the program. “There isn’t any chance that a long-term FISA reauthorization has the support of the overall conference,” Rep. Mark Meadows, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, told the Washington Post on Wednesday.

Although the Rules Committee has presently abandoned the vote, that does not mean the fight against  mass surveillance is over. Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and author of the bill (H.R. 4478), still has time to introduce the bill for a House vote. There is also the possibility that another bill could be introduced with provisions to approve section 702.

The attempt at reauthorization was also opposed by a small group of Senators, including Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Patrick Leahy, Steve Daines, and Ron Wyden. The senators gathered at a press conference with activists from the American Civil Liberties Union and FreedomWorks to voice their opposition to quietly renewing Section 702. 

 “I will actively oppose and filibuster any long term extension of warrantless searches of American citizens,” Paul tweeted on Wednesday.

The FBI and NSA claim they need section 702 in order to prevent another 9/11 like attack. However, in 2013 whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that  Section 702 also authorizes two Internet surveillance programs known as PRISM and Upstream. PRISM gathers messaging data sent via Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and other tech companies, while Upstream taps into the so-called backbone of the Internet to gather data on targets.

While Congress debates several bills regarding the future of Section 702, the Trump administration continues to support the dangerous, unconstitutional measure. Instead of any meaningful reform, the Senate version of the bill to “reform” Section 702 asks the FBI to submit a request to the the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court if they end up in possession of an Americans data. This is the very definition of the wolf guarding the hen house because the FISA court is notoriously secretive with little oversight. Critics say a lack of transparency has allowed various federal agencies to run mass surveillance programs with no accountability.

The courts were originally created under the the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) in response to reports produced by the 1975 Church Committee. The Senate panel was tasked with investigating the foreign and domestic surveillance operations by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), National Security Agency (NSA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) during the 1970s.

The Church Committee also released detailed reports on the governments Counter Intelligence Programs (COINTELPRO) that were used against activists and influential voices of opposition during the 1950s and ’60s.

Americans who care about privacy must stand against this obvious violation of liberty and privacy. 

Written by @dbroze for @ActivistPost. Stay Free!

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I am constantly reminded of the adage regarding government that it is wolves discussing dinner with sheep.

I suspect, in the end, that there will be a pro forma claim to have ended such post-Orwellian surveillance by our government that will be nothing more than deflection.

Wolves require dinner. They cannot relinquish the sheep.

May there yet be rams among us.

Ewe will know them by their fruits.

There is no lack of fruits in Congress. While the wolves consume us, feasting; gorging on our substance, sheep are herbivores.

We must be well supplied with the fruits of our laborers, or even the wolves will perish.

Thanks!

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There is incredible irony in FISA being re-authorized the same week we essentially confirmed that the FISA court was used to illegally spy on the top political opponent of the party that held governmental power. The spy state is not used to protect Americans, it is used to protect the political class's hold on power.

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If you're ever able to have a look at their internal documents, the NSA refers to serving their 'customers', and they don't mean the American people.

Generally they refer to private contractors and other government agencies, such as the Executive.

Ironically, last week Adam Kokesh announced he was running for US President, and 40 minutes later was arrested in Wise County, TX, where he remains incarcerated today. I am incredulous that such a coincidence wasn't potentiated by surveillance.

While I have very grave reservations regarding Kokesh, I do not view his arrest and incarceration as a positive development in terms of political transparency.

Indeed, I wonder if we haven't jumped from the frying pan of Obama, into the Trump fire.

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Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified under oath that the NSA was not carrying out blanket surveillance of American Citizens. Shortly after Edward Snowden showed the world how the NSA truly operates. Yet the only person held accountable was Snowden, the truth teller. There is something very telling when the constitutional rights of all Americans are violated and the only person held accountable is the person who exposed the actual crimes. America has been run by criminals for a long time. I saw that Adam was arrested. It wouldn't surprise me if the spy state was involved. People who promote liberty are the greatest threat to tyrants. I don't agree with everything Adam believes in, or you for that matter, but I will proudly stand by the side of and prop up anyone who promotes liberty, the shrinking or abolishment of government, and a return to natural law.

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" I don't agree with everything Adam believes in, or you for that matter, but I will proudly stand by the side of and prop up anyone who promotes liberty, the shrinking or abolishment of government, and a return to natural law."

I can't fault you for that!