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The Stop Spying On Us Amendment

Lambert reports that the Amash-Conyers amendment lost tonight by 205 to 217, but this isn’t over. It took the combined forces of Zero and the Orange-slice to defeat it, with a supporting role by Ms Pelosi.

We at least got an open debate on the issue, and people now know who they can’t trust with their privacy, because Lambert has the link to the roll call.

Charley Pierce and Steve Bates cover the hypocrisy and ineptitude of Zero on this amendment, so I’ll go back to my own personal complaint about the concept – it doesn’t work.

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism brings a personal perspective to the program: I’m Three Hops from a Terrorist, and Therefore Probably in the NSA’s Dragnet. And You?

If they did it like a standard criminal investigation, which is handled through the regular court system, you might find something useful. You find out who is connected to the suspect, and then you determine if they are people of interest. Then you go through the same process with the people of interest. If this turns up more people of interest, you know you are dealing with worthwhile leads, and you may go well beyond 3 hops for certain specific people, because it starts to look like a network of some kind.

What NSA is doing is hoovering up hundreds to millions of people which makes it harder to find the people of interest.

Let’s get real. If this system was minimally effective, it should have spit out the name of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. He did so many things that were obvious ‘flags’, even without the Russian warning, his name should have floated to the top. They didn’t find out about him until after people died, but they claim their boondoggle is essential. This isn’t being used to find terrorists, it is being used to identify them after the fact.


1 Steve Bates { 07.25.13 at 10:43 am }

It was always a long shot, but I’m amazed to see it come within 12 votes despite the combined efforts of Obama, Boehner and the Tea Party. It can only be an indication that at least some true conservatives are beginning to see the perils of current NSA policy. And President 0 … I have to surmise that Stella is correct; 0 is truly a Republican.

If I couldn’t read much, it would give me a heady rush to be mentioned in the same sentence as Charles Pierce. But I can read his column and my post, and know the only resemblances are subject matter and position… Pierce is a helluva good writer.

(In his hat, beard and glasses, Pierce looks a great deal like T.B., a true conservative friend of mine. Neither would be caught dead advocating the other’s positions, though.)

2 Bryan { 07.25.13 at 1:00 pm }

One of the things I noticed is that all of the establishment and the Tea Party are one short of a majority of 218. I figure the 205 are committed, so they just need 13 more Americans who believe in the Constitution. The votes are there with a little work, and the establishment should realize it. You don’t need to convince the wafflers to vote for it, just not vote if it makes them nervous, because 205-204 is still a win.

Every time they bring this up, people will be reminded.

3 hipparchia { 07.25.13 at 10:48 pm }

re I’m Three Hops from a Terrorist, and Therefore Probably in the NSA’s Dragnet. And You? . . .

i’ve marched in antiwar demonstrations, resisted arrest with (minor) let’s just call it pushback 🙂 and hung out with anarchists and occupiers both in social media and in real life. i’m probably on a lot more agencies’ radar screens than anybody who’s got that much separation between themselves and some terrorist.

4 hipparchia { 07.25.13 at 10:57 pm }

i saw that out our very own congresscritter voted against amash-conyers. so much for the party out of power acting as a check-and-balance against excesses by the ruling party.

he got a new va clinic built here (or maybe just expanded, i forget), which was probably the one good thing he’s ever done for this area. i don’t expect him to ever do anything else, not even accidentally, that would benefit the voters, but i’m still a little bit surprised he didn’t take this opportunity to (appear to) side with the paranoid right.

5 Bryan { 07.25.13 at 11:48 pm }

Miller does whatever he’s told to do. He may be angling for a job with a defense contractor and voted to protect the contractors working for NSA. There were a lot of Tea Party types who truly believe that the War on Terror™ is a Holy Crusade against Evil Islam.

It looks like there are three major groups within the Republican caucus – the establishment, Tea Party, and libertarians. There are a lot more libertarians than I would have guessed, which means that Boehner actually belongs to the smallest of the three segments.

I have had people spying on me for so long I ignore it. When I went into law enforcement the guy who did the background check got spooked about the reaction when he started asking questions about me. I told him to relax unless there was something in his background he was hiding.

Now that I’m an official old guy I get to say whatever I want, and to hell with them.

6 Kryten42 { 07.26.13 at 7:11 am }

I have had people spying on me for so long I ignore it. When I went into law enforcement the guy who did the background check got spooked about the reaction when he started asking questions about me. I told him to relax unless there was something in his background he was hiding.

😆 Yeah… After I left DIO, I was given a Gov embossed card with a phone number and a an ID code. Whenever people asked ‘What have you done recently?” I just handed them the card and told them to call. I got several curious, or surprised looks. Very few people have ever seen a card like that. Usually, when someone called that number and quoted the code, they got told to hold whilst it was looked up. Then they usually got told “Mr. **** worked for the Government and that’s all you need to know.” Eventually when DIO became less *Top-Secret* and was known to the public (early 90’s). the response changed to “Mr. ****** worked for Military agencies including the Royal Australian Army and DIO in various capacities and served with merit and distinction.” (Which I guess was nice of them, even though nobody will ever see the commendations or ribons etc.) *shrug*

Whenever I used the phone at home or my office from the late 80’s to mid-90’s (when it was still mostly analog exchanges), I’d here a telltale click and a slight delay before a call was connected. Most Gov agencies around the World are totally paranoid about ex high-level staff. A couple times when I was annoyed sufficiently, and I was calling a friend who knew what was going on, I’d say something like ” Hey, did I ever tell you that one of the Russians I used to deal with once showed me a photo of my boss in pink ladies underwear with a guy holding a whip behind him?” The first couple times, I quickly received a phone call, to which my usual response was “F*** O**! I don’t work for you clowns any more. And if you continue to invade my privacy, against my common law rights, I’ll sue the pink undies of the lot of you!” Eventually, they gave up. But they did make my life pretty hard during the 90’s. Until a few embarrassing rumors started circulating around the press. 😀 They finally got the hint!

I am definitely going to write that book! But I’ll have to self-publish. No publisher would have the balls to publish it without redaction. *shrug* One of the great things about the Internet! 😆

Hell.. Maybe I’ll do a *Snowden*! 😈

7 Bryan { 07.26.13 at 5:20 pm }

Dealing with the professional paranoids was a real hemorrhoid, they were always obsessed with the last person who stepped out of line and shifted their ‘bad guy’ profile to any quirks that individual had. If the last spy always drove blue VWs, any who bought a blue Bug would automatically be a suspect.

Some of the questions on the clearance renewal were just bizarre, to the point of the guy who asked going into a long prelude about it wasn’t his idea and he was required to ask the question and he wasn’t the sort of person who would ask this kind of question if it wasn’t required.

It is really bad when you hang around with cops who can tell if they are being tailed, and you have to tell them that you are the one being tailed, so ignore them and they will go away. It would have been mildly annoying if a DoD investigator got shot by a half dozen inebriated cops.

It is rather amazing how the ‘free press’ censors itself to get along with the government. No one wants to disturb the status quo, even though it usually needs a good seeing to.