Big Brother Get an Extension: House Passes Warrantless Wiretap Bill
September 13, 2012 7:47 PM
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House says yes to 5 more years of Americans surrendering their freedom in exchange for temporary safety
There seems to be a never-ending battle to spy on Americans in the name of "fighting terrorism" in the United States. This week the U.S. House voted 301-118 to pass the
FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012
(H.R. 5949). The bipartisan-backed bill will give the government a blank check for 5 more
years of warrantless wiretaps
I. How Did We Get Here?
The FISA mess, like many in the government is a story of what seemed like a good idea being perverted to accomplish the exact thing that it was original intended to prevent --
non-transparent and unaccountable wiretapping
The FISA was designed to eliminate Fourth Amendment violations, and was put in place in the wake of accusations that President Richard Nixon had used wiretaps to spy on political rivals. The act only allowed for warrantless wiretaps if one of the parties was "reasonably believed" to be outside the U.S.
While well intentioned, perhaps the FISA left open the door to abuse by putting domestic surveillance mechanisms in place. While the bill criminalized abuse, with a penalty of up to five years in jail, it has been difficult to prove abuse allegations against ranking federal officials.
But for its flaws FISA did offer some protections for a while. Then came the
PATRIOT Act of 2001
, which dramatically expanded warrantless wiretaps, and the
"Protect America Act"
of 2007 (
II. Both Romney and Obama Support Spying on Citizens
As with many kind of domestic spying over the last decade, usage went up and accountability went down. It's hard to say exactly what the results are -- because the public isn't privileged with that information.
But from past warrantless surveillance program reviews, one could safely assume that the program was often used for its intended purpose (fighting terrorism) -- but also
often abused in a variety of ways
William Binney, a codebreaker for the
U.S. National Security Agency
-- one of the chief wiretapping intelligence agencies -- quit his post in 2001 when he began to witness abuse; U.S. citizens being illegitimately snooped on.
[Image Source: Djibnet]
He commented in a speech at this year's Defcon hacker conference, "NSA's charter was to do foreign intelligence, and I was with that all the way. But then they took those systems that I built and they turned them on you, and I'm sorry about that."
Both President Obama
and former Mass. Governor and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney are both of the same mind when it comes to this provision
which will likely lead to spying on American citizens -- they love them. Both men have vocally supported the extension to the warrantless wiretaps and in support of other kinds of spying, arguing that the need for safety outweighs Americans' need for certain freedoms like privacy.
With such sweeping bipartisan support, the spying on American citizens and erosion liberties is likely to continue to be enjoyed and be advanced in years to come, assuming there is not a radical change in party leadership or some other radical shift in the American political atmosphere.
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Oh Look another Jason Mick hit piece
9/16/2012 11:54:45 AM
At this point Im starting to think he's practicing to work for the New York Times or MSNBC. He seems to forget that FISA warrants must be obtained within 72 hours of the wiretap or the information will be thrown out in court... well that is assuming the judge asks about the warrant of course. He also forgets to inform you that wire tapping has been around since there have been wires! The first president to use them was Abraham Lincoln! The reason I call it a hit piece is that you dont see him attacking obama or the senate for not passing a budget in over 3 years... nooo but as soon as the republican house passes anything that he doesnt like oh its the end of the world!
Im on to you Mick... Go reread your history book bub it doesnt matter what party they're in but it was the democrats that pushed for slavery for over 150 years, then filibustered the civil rights act (every time they brought them up), formed the KKK, refused to allow integration, RE-segregated the military under woodrow wilson, passed the law that created the federal reserve (which later caused the great depression and several other bubbles), passed all the new deal programs (38 in 8 years including social security and welfare), changed the welfare system in 1965 so that it was no longer a program for widows but for any woman who had a kid and wasnt married (which within 5 years killed the black family by putting 72% of black women on the program... and its the same number today), And my personal favorite when they got the income tax (passed by a republican president just before leaving office in 1913) took a top rate of 7% in 1913 to 75% in 8 years... nothing like taxing the rich to create prosperity right? Except it didnt It created a worse crash than in 1929 when wilson was leaving office... well I should say dying in office but either way it was his last year in office. When Harding (a man you previously quoted out of context in another hit piece)and his VP Coolidge came into office they began cutting taxes. They cut the top rate from 75% to 25% and it sparked almost 8 years of a booming economy known to this day as "The Roaring 20's". It wasnt till the fed refused to print more money in the latter half of the decade and a fellow republican progressive hold over (progressives stopped calling themselves progressive after wilson because it became like calling someone a liberal today... it was almost synonymous with corruption and deceit) came into office and started attacking businesses and busting them up that caused the 1929 crash. Of course your history book probably blames capitalism and says that FDR's big government new deal program was the savior of the country.
That doesnt leave out the republicans either. Like I said they passed the progressive income tax (which was 1% at the bottom and 7% at the top... so not horrible but still a tax), the luxury tax on phones, busted up businesses that were too big for their liking, using the military to force their will on about half of the country over slavery (though most people agree it turned out for the best), tried to keep the southern representatives in the house from being seated after the civil war (Lincoln wanted them to be seated immediately so we could get back to normal and the republicans in the house wanted them to have to be re-elected by all the people including the freedmen to be seated... Lincoln won the argument), the interstate highway system, the epa, and price controls for gasoline after helping Israel in the 60's and pissing off OPEC who then cut their production 90% and more than doubled prices to screw with us... so Nixon set prices on gasoline arbitrarily low and people lined up to get the gas while it was still cheap... that turned out so well we basically ran out of gas in the country and the EPA was called in to come up with the CAFE standards and the catalytic converter to improve gas mileage and the problem of acid rain (a claim that was never actually substantiated in any tests).
So yes the republicans have increased the size of government and abused their power too but compare notes... whos more evil?
RE: Oh Look another Jason Mick hit piece
9/16/2012 12:10:02 PM
Oh hell I forgot... 1965 democrats passed medicare... which today combined with social(ist) security accounts for over a trillion dollars in government redistribution of wealth from the young to the old.
That program was also, as most of you remember, expanded on by the liberal republican George W Bush in 2003 in exchange for a 1 billion dollar over 10 year tax cut to be demonized later.
Democrats also gave us public sector unions and the department of education. The combination of these have caused another 3 trillion in redistribution of wealth since 1976 and flatlined test scores. So now teachers make 60-150k when you include benefits and only work 180 days out of the year. They make up to 150k and only work 6 months out of the year! And they complain about it! When a school is failing the government just throws money at it and the teacher buys a new luxury car and keeps right on teaching the same way! But we cant decentralize our education system nooo. We cant get rid of the leftist supporting unions and pay teachers based on their performance of course not! Hell we cant even fire a teacher who molests a student!
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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