NSA Will Continue Bulk Spying Despite Lawmakers Efforts

An interesting report on Ars Technica reveals that the National Security Agency would continue bulk spying activities even if Congress passes a law forbidding them to do so. In fact, the agency would likely take the fight to court – though which court that would be remains uncertain.

This was revealed at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this week concerning "continued oversight of US Government Surveillance." Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, heard some pretty amazing testimony from Deputy Attorney General James Cole. Leahy who has sponsored the Senate version of a bill called the USA Freedom Act (PDF), one of a few that would ban bulk data collection.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole seemed to imply that the NSA would not shut down any programs, and that the Department of Justice would want to hear how courts interpreted the language of the bill if passed.

"Right now the interpretation of the word 'relevant' is a broad interpretation," said Cole. "Adding 'pertinent to a foreign agent' or 'somebody in contact with a foreign agent' could be another way of talking about relevance as it is right now," he added. "We'd have to see how broadly the court interprets that or how narrowly."

NSA chief General Keith Alexander also asked lawmakers not to pass the ban. "There's no other way we know of to connect the dots," he said.

But Leahy was undeterred and promised to push forward with his bill.

"We give up a lot of our privacy in this country, and frankly I worry about giving up too much," Leahy said.

We'll have more on this story as it develops.

Source: Ars Technica

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  1. 0
    prh99 says:

    I think the NSA has forgotten their place in the hierarchy of government.

    National Security Agency would continue bulk spying activities even if Congress passes a law forbidding them to do so.

    That would make them criminals (if they are not already), in which case I am all in favor of locking them up and throwing away the key.


  2. 0
    Scott1701c says:

    I hate to point this out but…

    The dystopian "fantasies" have been in place for a while, even before 9/11. Only thing to change was a budget increase.

    Heck, the crap that was pulled by the US government in the 1940s against Japanese-Americans was right up the same alley (FYI: Not one spy was found among them). While on the subject of WW2, many German communities were "strongly encouraged" (by threat of being charged with Treason) to stop speaking German. Then we get to the illegal testing done in small Black communities in the South to see if Chemical-X was dangerous, I recall something about syphilis as well. (Is it any wonder why some people think that AIDS was originally a Bio-Weapon, it is proven NOT True, but you can understand why some people would still believe that).

    I could go on and on about FBI Director John Edgar Hoover, who had more (what are today) illegal programs then we do now, but I am already getting long winded. Note: He is the reason why there are term limits on the FBI Directors chair.

    The only difference today is that the general public does not call me crazy for being paranoid. We also have more people interested in the 2nd Amendment but that is another discussion all together.

  3. 0
    dregstudios says:

    The dystopian fantasies of yesteryear are now a reality.  We’ve allowed the coming of an age where the civil liberties our forefathers fought so hard for are being eroded by the day.  Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Assembly are mere ghostly images of their original intent.  We’ve woken up to an Orwellian Society of Fear where anyone is at the mercy of being labeled a terrorist for standing up for rights we took for granted just over a decade ago.  Read about how we’re waging war against ourselves at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/living-in-society-of-fear-ten-years.html

  4. 0
    Sora-Chan says:

    People have come out and said that defunding them would not stop them any time soon.

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