House reverses course, upholds NSA phone snooping as terrorist attacks shift debate

by Stephen Dinan  |  published on June 20, 2016

With the terrorist-inspired Orlando shooting fresh in their minds, House lawmakers reversed course last week and voted to uphold the government’s ability to snoop through its data when it believes American citizens are involved in terrorism — suggesting the post-Snowden wariness of the NSA has dissipated.

The Thursday vote marked a defeat for civil libertarians, who in 2014 and 2015 had won showdowns on the House floor, but who have seen their support dissipate as terrorist attacks in both the U.S. and Europe have reshaped the debate.

The fight is over snooping programs targeting foreigners’ communications under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), but which also end up snaring Americans’ emails and phone calls. Intelligence agencies claim the right to go through that data when they are investigating terrorism, and say it’s critical to preventing new plots or learning out the contours of attacks as they happens — possibly including the Orlando shooting.

Civil libertarians argue the data shouldn’t be collected in the first place, and say if agents are going to peer into it, they should get a warrant first before looking at Americans’ data under Section 702.

  • CharlieSeattle

    This is BulllShyt!

    Obama and Congress let in the thousands of muslims rapefugees!
    Reagan, Clinton, Bush, Obama and Congress let in the millions of unvetted and diseased illegal aliens!

    It is all part of an treasonous BS plan to fuk over Americans and deprive us of our jobs and our right to defend ourselves!

  • Ed Stahl

    As Hillary said — “What difference would it make”! They had information from facebook,-, they had reports from other people– Even more information was available, but those who knew were afraid of the government malking a fuss about racism, and christian hate attacks! …. So a bunch of poeple got killed right?? But somehow spyIng on and recording everything law abiding citizens say on internet and telephone will stop criminal and “Jihad nut cases” ! And of course taking away our guns and rights to defend ourselves will stop those crazy people from shooting people– now will be easier it to use swords you know! Oops!! — Guess they will be the only ones with assault weapons too huh?? …. But obama will be divinely happy thoigh!

  • maxx

    Hope a list of House Rinos gets published. I’ll bet Paul Ryan will be on it.

  • Richard Bagenstose

    it would be ok if they were looking for terrorists but there not , there snooping on normal americans looking for the ones who are bad mouthing and complaining about the black muslum freak in the white house, just like the fbi , the freak won’t let them do there jobs, when it comes to illegals and muslums, as long as the freak stays in the white house it will only get worse , just watch and see

  • McFerguson

    Good! I’ve nothing to hide. The NSA can look through all my e-mails if they want, and they’ll find nothing. Let them do what they must with regard to suspicious activity emanating from any of the radical Islamist terrorist nations or those American muslims in the U.S. suspected of having been radicalized or cavorting with ISIS remnants. The U.S. Constitution is not a suicide pact with the devil. We must protect ourselves from radical Islamic extremists, period! Right, Barry?

    • Ramon1710 .

      “I’ve nothing to hide.”
      Or so you think. Just being at this website will have a bureaucrat observer pegging you as a right-winger…potential right-wing extremist, which your government has stated can be just as dangerous as Islamic extremists.
      When they show up at your door to ask you questions about something you said in jest in an e-mail, remember, it’s what you wanted.

      • McFerguson

        Good, bring it on! And for the record, I’m also a global warming denier. Are you listening, Ms. Attorney General, Lynch? I’ve also owned two hand guns for the past decade or so, and they never fired a shot in anger, or without my help. Both are semi-automatics and the only one who needs to fear them is the turkey who tries to invade my house with bad intentions. Nice talkin’ to ya, Loretta. Come and see me sometime…

  • Dr. G

    Sometimes Common Sense means doing things we might find distasteful, but utterly necessary – like the internment of Japanese, German, and Italians during WWII (yes, Virginia, we caged more than Japanese, but no one talks about them) that effectively stopped espionage. Again, it depends on WHO is doing the snooping and why. Members of the Obamanation wielding such powers terrify civil libertarians, with just cause. However, much like many life saving medications that unfortunately will harm some while benefitting the multitudes, we will need to stay vigilant not only over evildoers, but our guardians as well.

    • Ramon1710 .

      In 1755 (Pennsylvania Assembly: Reply to the Governor, Tue, Nov 11, 1755), Ben Franklin wrote: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
      Common sense never means trusting the most unaccountable, inefficient, self-serving bureaucracy in existence for your welfare. Check out how many terror bombings were carried out by those either once on (or currently on) a government watch list. Most recent case security failure being Orlando.

      • Dr. G

        Which is why we must guard the guardians. With this bunch in control, actionable intel is ignored on the Altar of Political Correctness. But don’t cut off your nose to spite your face – which many ideologues have a distinct habit of doing.

  • DrBillLemoine

    At last a note of sanity from congress. Law enforcement needs the access to citizens’ phone calls’ metadata to investigate possible terrorist patterns of calls. I’ve said so since the Snowden event scared citizens and congress away from using media to find terrorists. The usual protections of search warrants, judges overseeing wiretaps and the like for twitter and facebook posts should remain in place though the latter 2 are ordinarily in the public domain already. Finally we have taken the shackles off the FBI and NSA to keep us safer as before.

    • Ramon1710 .

      “Law enforcement needs the access to citizens’ phone calls’ metadata to investigate possible terrorist patterns of calls.”
      So you’d have no problem listing several of their success stories of stopping terrorism by bulk spying. Give it a try.

      • DrBillLemoine

        You give it a try. Even if you are willing to reveal techniques applied to busted terrorist acts, I’m not. At some point we must trust law enforcement at the highest levels to keep us safe without revealing all their techniques that can then be circumvented by evil doers. It’s enough for me to know in a general way from mass media that West Coast terrorists have been thwarted, criminals from ‘north’ of the border with Canada. Kinda puts Trumps southern border wall concept to shame regarding terrorist infiltration.

        • Ramon1710 .

          OK, your brainwashing by mass media explains how you could have zero upvotes after uploading over 13,000 comments.

          • DrBillLemoine

            I’m showing you how truth emerges, not very often on these ultra conservative blogs. In a larger sense, no teacher waits for approval before informing his students, so I do the same here. A balanced viewpoint is progressive, like me.

          • ezekiel22

            Watch that arm doc. People have been known to break it patting themselves on the back.
            As an extra piece of advice do not say you are balanced. By definition a leftist is not balanced.

          • DrBillLemoine

            I’m curious about when you will stop beating your head against the wall. My progressive views are held in common with most of the nation.

          • ezekiel22

            When the left will actually extend their arguments to their logical conclusions then maybe. All they do is misrepresent positions and call names.

          • DrBillLemoine

            You must be following me around. What’s cyberstalking? You describe the right of course where CEOs in charge of the party look 3 months out for corporate reporting et al and base voters can’t see the forest for the trees.

        • ezekiel22

          You are definitely behind on this honey. We are still catching OTMs well within our borders. Trump is actually closer to correct than the no borders know nothings. Sorry to say terrorists are here through the southern border.

          • DrBillLemoine

            You have zero evidence of what you say about terrorists from the south. I don’t know any ‘no borders’ as you put it, another smoke screen you bought.

          • ezekiel22

            I see you ignore facts once again. Try looking up history of
            Some of these Latin groups for starters. I did when I was investigating a unions backing a while back.
            I do not suppose you know about make california Mexican again means anything. Try again.

          • DrBillLemoine

            What a crock~ Now you are equating CA latinos with border crossing terrorists. Get a grip.

          • ezekiel22

            Wanna bet? If so then I will be happy to collect. You are only deceiving yourself.

  • ADRoberts

    “The greater good”. This is what happens when cowardly, anti-Constitution weak minded people decide that our freedoms and rights must be suppressed in favor of the POSSIBLE good that “BIG BROTHER” programs MIGHT make.
    Folks, we are getting the wrong people in congress. And that is directly related to those who FUND them, the Bilderbergs, like Mark Zuckerberg.

    Time to take action and remove their control over us.

    • Dr. G

      You would have fought Interment during WWII. But how many destruction of ships in San Pedro Harbor, laden with oil, would you have tolerated before swallowing your hard-line anti-common sense stance? One ship? Two? A fleet? This is but one set of threats that were foiled by the Internment. This is of the same category.

      • ADRoberts

        Two courses of action
        1. Fight and probably lose and die.
        2. Trust in God and probably lose and die.
        But when you actually trust God, you KNOW that HE is in charge and HIS promises are that He will take care of you.

        A very old song.
        “Be not dismayed, whate’er be tide. God will take care of you.
        Beneath His wings of love abide. God will take care of you.”

        This is the “night” that the Ten Virgins faced. Five had what it took. Five did not. Only five made it to heaven.

        • Dr. G

          Put not the Lord your God to foolish tests.

          • ADRoberts

            You are illogical.
            What is there to trusting God that is putting God to a test?
            Explain.
            Either you trust Him or you don’t
            It would seem , you might not.

          • Dr. G

            Sheesh, you need an example? “I know you want the best for me, God. I await the winning numbers for the lottery.” Or, better yet, “trust in God to make things right” without lifting a finger. The option you left out in your initial comment was, trust in God and fight. Remember, Faith without works is dead. Placing one’s faith in God is a good thing, yet to ignore one’s own responsibility in the process is truly foolish, indeed.

          • ADRoberts

            Yes, faith without works is dead. But you seem to believe that most of the work is YOURS.
            I have been used by God in many situations. And the most amazing is when God tells me to do something that is totally illogical and without reason. (Not evil or stupid in His eyes)
            I do not ignore MY responsibility. Neither do I discount that sometimes, as in the case of Gideon or when the man of God asked God to make the sun stand still, that God is able.

            Now I will remind you. Do not fear the one who can kill the body. That is in Matthew. You can look it up.
            And as for those Christians who are dying at a rate of ONE every FIVE minutes around the world, I guess YOU would condemn them for NOT DOING enough to save their lives.

            Now a collary for you. “Works without faith is dead”. And no, it is not in the Bible. But it is TRUE.

          • Dr. G

            Before you pretend at Faith to delude others in your True Purpose, perhaps you can look up James 2:14-26 (if you really have a Bible at hand). particularly VERSE 17 – “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Satan, as you are, can be very eloquent when deceiving others. Just ask Eve about that. Get behind me, Satan, and lead no others astray here.

          • ADRoberts

            I know the verse well. What you don’t know would fill a book.
            So you want to go to battle with me over the Bible.
            I still maintain that FAITH comes first. Then works MUST follow.

            So YOU go to John 14:12. ANd you will find there what faith with works looks like. I have been there at least FIVE times. Miracles that God gave in answer to my prayers.

            You want to talk about WORKS, That is what it is about.
            Now testify. How many times can you report that YOU prayed for a situation where YOUR works simply could not do a thing.
            1. A man with AB neg blood is dying of heart failure. No hearts available or likely to be. But GOD told ME that he would answer OUR prayer. That was on a Wednesday night. And Sunday morning, Gale had a replacement heart
            2. A man dying from “brain fever” in the Philippians. Know to always be FATAL. But God told ME during the prayer time in Sunday School class that HE was going to answer our prayer. Months later, the report came. The man is back home, learning to talk and walk again.
            3. A missionary whose back had been out for several months. We prayed for him. Two days after we left the country, he woke up and his back was healed. (Yes, I know. It had gone back into place. But it did not occur till AFTER we prayed.
            4. A woman with scoliosis. I crossed paths with her while having an MRI.
            I asked If I could pray for her. She agreed. Several weeks later, I am talking to another woman in a different office of the SAME company. She goes out of her way to tell me that the woman with scoliosis had told her that she had not been that free of pain in TWENTY YEARS.
            5. While in Venezuela, we were at a church that was close to dying. The pastor had graduated with a degree in Chem-engineering. He was gong to work for the government. The church had about 8 college coeds and 3 or 4 very old people. I prayed. Power came up from my body and out the hand leaning against the building. I reported to the missionary to tell the church that IF they remained faith, God would prosper them. Several years later, I saw the report in our church news letter. A village had slide of the clift and into the ocean, far away from Merida. The church there SPONSORED FIFTY people from that village. The church I had seen could not have sponsored ONE person
            Now YOUR turn.
            These are works of God, through me.
            ANd God is glorified, as He should be.

          • ADRoberts

            By the way. Which comes first. Faith or works?

  • uhptony

    The government should use every device available to track and eliminate these savages (MUSLIMS and RADICAL ISLAMISTS). I think that every mosque in the country should be torched or bulldozed down, the muslim religion/political system should be totally outlawed in this country and anyone caught practicing any form of this vile satanic religion should be shot on site.

  • Rodney Steward

    As long as Obama is in our house, we will continue to have nothing but trouble, U can’t fix anything with STUPID! Mateen did not fall through the cracks, he was LET through the cracks! Wake up Big Brother, AMERICA is no longer asleep!

    • TxBlueBonnet

      Rodney, Hitlery is as bad, if not worse.

      • Rodney Steward

        MUCH WORSE!!! EVIL!!!!

  • Ramon1710 .

    Prior to the shooting, Mateen had been investigated by the FBI in 2013 and 2014. The FBI records were purged, so as to not look islamophobic.

    I’ll bet all the unconstitutionally collected phone records gathered by the NSA haven’t been similarly purged. They’re concerned about appearing PC, but have no problem violating the Constitution, and acting unaccountable and despotic. Once again, the government screws up, and exploits the screw-up to continue in the same direction.

    • Rodney Steward

      A lot like riding a dead horse, their getting nowhere fast!

    • Worried Vet

      Yep. It’s the old saying do as I say not as I do. I didn’t like when I was young and I sure as hell don’t like it now. The crooks we elected only care about staying in office. They spend two thirds of their time running it fund raising. I think it’s about time for term limits and if they they won’t work for US we have the power to fire them and not wait for another election. It’s time to put the power back in the people’s hands. We have had these idiots in charge to long. They have bankrupted us, lost 3 wars and lost our security and standing in the world. Obama has went around the world like a weak , apologetic sissy for way to long. Going to Hiroshima was uncalled for. Truman was a democrat, FDR started the Manhattan project. Truman had no choice in dropping the bomb. The fight on Okinawa proved to invade Japan would have cost many more lives American and Japanese. The people if Japan especially the military could or would not surrender they would lose face. Thousands on Okinawa committed suicide because they were told the Americans would torture all prisoners. We dropped thousands of leaflets telling the population the bomb was more more or less coming. Truman tried to get them to surrender they wouldn’t. By doing what he did Truman saved hundreds of thousands of American lives and countless Japanese lives. We did what had to be done to end that war. There was to much death and destruction already. 60 to 80 million had died and billions in property and infrastructure had been destroyed causing millions Moreno die. It had to end.

      • McFerguson

        I like your style, Worried Vet. Semper Fi.

        • Worried Vet

          Thanks lock and load.

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