House Amendment to Defense Appropriations Bill Cuts Funding for NSA Domestic Spying

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 293-123 to cut funding for NSA spying programs that are aimed at Americans. Late last night an amendment to a defense appropriations bill put forth by Reps. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Thomas Massie (R-KY) passed with wide support, though it still has to get the same approval in the U.S. Senate.

With a few exceptions, the amendment says that the funds allocated in the defense budget bill "may be used by an officer or employee of the United States to query a collection of foreign intelligence information acquired under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1881a) using a United States person as an identifier."

The amendment also declares that "none of the funds made available by this Act may be used by the National Security Agency or the Central Intelligence Agency to mandate or request that a person…alter its product or service to permit the electronic surveillance…of any user of said product or service for said agencies."

The amendment is quite different from the USA Freedom Act that passed last month. That bill was meant to reform the NSA spying programs but, as is often the case with bills that go through committees, it eventually was rewritten to permit the NSA access to phone call metadata – often without court approval.

If approved by the Senate, the amendment would take effect in 2015.

Source: Ars Technica

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