Don’t Hold Your Breath

Why is it that D.C. is six weeks behind the rest of the country?  Is it something in the water?

What I expect is a great flurry of inaction and word salad hoping that the issue will just quietly slink away with any actual change simply making things worse.

People need to be FIRED!  They need to be LOCKED UP!  They need to be so shamed and punished that they never again hold a position of responsibility in the government!

Mood shifting, Congress may move to limit NSA spying

By David Lightman, Kate Irby and Ben Kamisar, McClatchy

Friday, July 19, 2013

Skepticism has been slowly building since last month’s disclosures that the super-secret NSA conducted programs that collected Americans’ telephone data. Dozens of lawmakers are introducing measures to make those programs less secret, and there’s talk of denying funding and refusing to continue authority for the snooping.



Late Friday, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court reauthorized collection of telephone and online data by the federal government, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper revealed. He said the administration was “undertaking a careful and thorough review of whether and to what extent additional information or documents pertaining to this program may be declassified, consistent with the protection of national security.”

“It is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to have a full and frank discussion about this balance when the public is unable to review and analyze what the executive branch and the courts believe the law means,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., who has asked the administration to make the opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court public.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is leading an effort along with Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, to have the court’s judges nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Currently, the Supreme Court’s chief justice selects judges from those holding other federal district court judgeships.

Schiff also is pushing a measure, along with Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., to require the attorney general to declassify significant Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act opinions, and got a boost Friday from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.



The concerns fall into two general categories: What exactly is the NSA doing, and how can its work be more open?

“They need to provide as much clarity as they possibly can so people know and have a familiarity with what’s happening, why that happens,” said James Lankford, R-Okla., chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. He wanted “another round of information again and to be able to process that.”

The desire to know more sparked a sometimes fiery House Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this week with top administration officials.

Conyers, the committee’s top Democrat, noted that the Fourth Amendment protects Americans from unreasonable search and seizure. “You’ve already violated the law as far as I am concerned,” Conyers said.

The ire came from both parties. “The Star Chamber . . . in England started out . . . as very popular with the people. It allowed people to get justice that otherwise would not,” said Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., referring to a court that was abolished by Parliament in 1641 over its abuses of power. “But it evolved over time into a powerful weapon for political retribution by the king.”



“There’s no legitimate reason to keep this legal analysis from public interest any longer,” said Conyers. Judiciary Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., was sympathetic, saying, “I share his concern about some classified information that does not need to be classified.”

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