Wednesday, July 24, 2013. New York City – “Despite a concerted lobbying effort by the White House and senior intelligence figures, the attempt to rein in the NSA failed by only 12 votes. The final vote was 205 in favor and 217 against, exposing deep restiveness in Congress over the wisdom and constitutionality of the bulk surveillance on Americans less than two months after the Guardian exposed it, thanks to leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden. A shift of seven votes would have changed the outcome,” The Guardian reports.
Congressman Justin Amash, Libertarian-Republican of Michigan and Congressman John James Conyers, Jr., Democrat of Michigan presented an amendment today that would end the NSA’s collection of telephone metadata.
In a statement they said, “The Amash – Conyers amendment ends NSA’s blanket collection of Americans’ telephone records. It does this by requiring the FISA court under Sec. 215 to order the production of records that pertain only to a person under investigation.”
A majority of Republicans voted against it, 94-134, while a majority of Democrats voted for it, 111-83. Do you want to know who voted YES and who voted NO? The final roll call is here.
John James Conyers, Jr. (born May 16, 1929) is the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 13th congressional district, serving in Congress since 1965 (the district was numbered as the 1st District until 1993, and as the 14th district from 1993 to 2013). The district includes the western half of Detroit, as well as Dearborn, Highland Park and most of the downriver suburbs including Wyandotte and Romulus.
After graduating from Northwestern High School in Detroit, Conyers served in the Michigan National Guard 1948–50; US Army 1950–54; and the US Army Reserves 1954–57. Conyers served for a year in Korea as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was awarded combat and merit citations. Conyers grew up in Detroit, and received both his B.A. and his LL.B. from Wayne State University.
Conyers was present in Selma, Alabama on October 7, 1963, for the civil rights movement voter registration drive known as Freedom Day.
Justin Amash (born April 18, 1980) is an American attorney and member of Congress. In January 2011, he began serving as the U.S. Representative for Michigan’s 3rd congressional district, which includes Grand Rapids.
Amash was first elected to the House in the 2010 election. Previously he was a member of the Michigan House of Representatives representing the 72nd District, which consisted of the city of Kentwood and the townships of Caledonia, Cascade, and Gaines. At the age of 30, Amash assumed office as the second youngest sitting U.S. Representative, behind 29-year-old Aaron Schock of Illinois. As of 2013, Amash is the 6th youngest U.S. Representative. He is Chairman of the House Liberty Caucus.
“Only a 12-vote margin to reject a bill to DE-FUND a major NSA program. Amazing coalition of left-wing and right-wing civil libertarians.”_ Glenn Greenwald
“Perhaps Nancy Pelosi and Michele Bachman can tour the country together making their case for NSA spying.”_ Conor Friedersdorf
( Nancy Pelosi and Michele Bachmann voted NO.)
“This is a great first step. It’s the best vote we’ve ever had on the Patriot Act,”_ACLU‘s surveillance lobbyist, Michelle Richardson.
“While ultimately not successful, this vote showed that more than 200 members of Congress — including the author of the Patriot Act — oppose these programs. These programs barely survived after a full court lobbying campaign by the White House, the Intelligence community, and the NSA proper.
And it couldn’t be more clear why these institutions acted so desperately: If Amash supporters had shifted but seven votes, we’d have won the day.
Today’s vote shows that the tide is turning, that the American people, when they are aware of these programs, overwhelmingly reject them, and the expiration date on these programs is coming due,”_David Segal, executive director of Demand Progress
“The Amash amendment to defund the NSA’s domestic surveillance program nearly passed with a vote of 205-217 in the House of Representatives. Tell your representative what you think about how they voted,” the website DeFundTheNSA.com says. The site has a list of those who voted for the amendment and against NSA surveillance and those who voted against the amendment and for NSA surveillance.
Michigan Republican Justin Amash, said “We came close (205-217). If just seven Representatives had switched their votes, we would have succeeded. Thank YOU for making a difference. We fight on to defend liberty.”
Michigan Democrat John Conyers, said “This Section 215 of the Patriot Act has this phrase about “records can be collected or obtained if they are relevant to an ongoing national security investigation” and in a way that is what our concern is about — whether the records are in fact relevant to ongoing investigations. I believe that if it meets that test, then we don’t have any objections.
Our concern, however, is that when the government collects phone records, for example, on everybody in the United States. In other words, if there is a case, or an investigation, or an incident, and there are people thought by the FBI or CIA to be relevant to the investigation [that’s what the law was meant for.]”
Related articles and videos.
“Whether the FBI and NSA have the legal authority to obtain the master keys that companies use for Web encryption remains an open question, but it hasn’t stopped the U.S. government from trying,” CNET says.
Pete Ashdown, CEO of XMission, an internet service provider in Utah received a Foreign Intelligence Service Act (FISA) warrant in 2010 mandating he let the feds monitor one of his customers, through his facility. He also received a broad gag order.
Edward Snowden is the computer analyst whistleblower who provided the Guardian with top-secret NSA documents leading to revelations about US surveillance on phone and internet communications.
7/24/2013 – Debate and vote of the Amash – Conyers amendment.
July 17, 2013 – Congressional oversight hearing of NSA data collection and surveillance of ALL U.S. citizens.
In an exclusive interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden contemplates the reaction from the US government to his revelations of top-secret documents regarding its spying operations on domestic and foreign internet traffic, email and phone use. The interview was recorded in Hong Kong on June 6, 2013.
July 9, 2013. The Guardian. Part 1 – NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’
July 9, 2013. The Guardian. Part 2 – NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘The US government will say I aided our enemies’