“The Senate on Saturday rejected legislation that would curb the federal government’s bulk collection of phone records,” Jennifer Steinhauer reports for The New York Times. “With the death of that measure — passed overwhelmingly in the House earlier this month — senators then scrambled to hastily pass a short-term measure to keep the program from going dark when it expires June 1 but failed. The disarray in Congress appeared to significantly increase the chances that the government will lose systematic access to newly created calling records by Americans, at least temporarily, after June 1.”
Steinhauer reports, “‘This is a high-threat period,’ said Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, who was stymied in his efforts to extend the program even for a few days by the junior senator for his home state, Rand Paul.”
MacDailyNews Take: Who’s really the highest threat to the rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution for which so many have fought and died?
“The Senate will reconvene on May 31 to try again. But any extension is far from certain to get approval from the House, which is in recess until June 1, with at least one member threatening to block it,” Steinhauer reports. “‘Any extension is going to be problematic in the House,’ said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Mr. Schiff noted that many of the votes against the measure in the House were by members who didn’t think it went far enough. The matter is likely to come up after the one-week recess.”
“‘This is a debate about whether or not a warrant with a single name of a single company can be used to collect all the records,’ Mr. Paul said. ‘All of the phone records of all of the people in our country with a single warrant. Our forefathers would be aghast,'” Steinhauer reports. “Mr. Paul has made clear that he wants the House bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, brought to the floor with an open amendment process so he can have the chance to toughen it. However, while the House bill has a strong chance of passing the Senate should Mr. McConnell stop pressuring Republicans to reject it, it is likely to fail with stronger language sought by Mr. Paul and others. Congress has a long way to go toward a compromise… Even if both chambers do agree to an extension of the statute, the program might still lapse.”
MacDailyNews Take: This unconstitutional abomination was passed in a time of fear. Grow a pair, Mitch, and let it die.
“Still, while a short-term lapse in the bulk phone records collection could have large political repercussions, it might have only a limited operational impact on counterterrorism investigations,” Steinhauer reports. “Throughout the lifetime of the once-secret program, which began in October 2001, it has never been the difference maker in thwarting any terrorist attack, according to testimony and government reports.”
Steinhauer reports, “‘The Senate is in gridlock, but the tides are shifting,’ said Michael W. Macleod-Ball, acting director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington legislative office. ‘For the first time, a majority of senators took a stand against simply rubber-stamping provisions of the Patriot Act that have been used to spy on Americans. It’s disappointing that the Senate couldn’t coalesce around far-reaching reform, but in its absence the Senate should simply let the expiring provisions sunset.'”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Adhere to the U.S. Constitution.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. — United States Constitution, Amendment IV
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free. – Ronald Reagan, March 30, 1961
Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! – Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775
Visit the Apple-backed reformgovernmentsurveillance.com today.
Rand Paul commandeers U.S. Senate to protest so-called Patriot Act, government intrusion on Americans’ privacy – May 20, 2015
Apple, others urge Obama to reject any proposal for smartphone backdoors – May 19, 2015
U.S. appeals court rules NSA bulk collection of phone data illegal – May 7, 2015
In open letter to Obama, Apple, Google, others urge Patriot Act not be renewed – March 26, 2015
Apple, Google, others call for government surveillance reform – December 9, 2013
Apple’s iOS encryption has ‘petrified’ the U.S. administration, governments around the world – March 19, 2015
Obama criticizes China’s demands for U.S. tech firms to hand over encryption keys, install backdoors – March 3, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook advocates privacy, says terrorists should be ‘eliminated’ – February 27, 2015
Apple’s Tim Cook warns of ‘dire consequences’ of sacrificing privacy for security – February 13, 2015
DOJ warns Apple: iPhone encryption will lead to a child dying – November 19, 2014
Apple CEO Tim Cook ups privacy to new level, takes direct swipe at Google – September 18, 2014
A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy – September 18, 2014
Apple will no longer unlock most iPhones, iPads for police, even with search warrants – September 18, 2014