The USA Freedom Act, which was set to deliver some reforms to the NSA dragnet surveillance program, failed in Congress yesterday. Could this be the first step in a longer, more drawn out battle against invasive government spying?
Article by Dan Froomkin for The Intercept
Senate Republicans, ratcheting up their rhetoric about the threat posed by the Islamic State, on Tuesday night sank the only significant legislative attempt to rein in the National Security Agency in the nearly year and a half since American citizens first learned they were being spied on by their own government.
The procedural vote to move forward on the USA Freedom Act required 60 votes. It received 58. All but one Democrat and four libertarian-leaning Republicans voted in favor of the bill. The rest of the Republicans — including libertarian firebrand Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — voted against, along with Florida Democrat Bill Nelson. (Here’s the rollcall of the vote.)
During a brief debate before the vote, Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss warned that members of the Islamic State “want people to walk the streets of New York… and start killing people.” And, displaying either a real or feigned ignorance of the extraordinary latitude the NSA will continue to enjoy when it comes to spying on international communications, he suggested that the bulk collection of domestic phone records was necessary to ferret out such plans. (Watch video of the debate.)
- Read more at The Intercept