USA Freedom Act Looks Like a Change to NSA Spying – But Isn’t

Many Americans will admit when they are not the sharpest knife in the drawer and concede their bulb may not be the brightest in the chandelier. However, when it comes to Congress, those dull knives and dim bulbs attempting to govern this nation make most Americans appear to be Einsteins. Case in point is the new bill concerning the supposed curbing of NSA spying. Republicans and Democrats alike are patting themselves on the back for creating this bipartisan piece of legislation that aims to seriously roll-back the NSA’s collection of communications data on innocent Americans. According to one former NSA senior official, this piece of legislation doesn’t go far enough.

Thomas Drake, the former NSA senior official turned whistleblower, stated, “The bottom line: This is largely faux reform and a surveillance salve. To date, neither the House nor Senate attempts go far enough.”

The majority of Americans understand that any spying activity done by government against innocent citizens is a violation of the Fourth Amendment. Period. End of story. This includes the pornographic, sexual assaulting activities of the TSA, spying activities on all levels of the NSA, no warrant door to door raids conducted during the Boston Marathon Bombing incident, along with a host of other activities law enforcement routinely conducts. If the average American can understand this, why can’t those in government understand it? The answer is simple; they don’t want to nor do they care.

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According to McClatchy DC:

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[Drake’s assessment] is not easy to discern, thanks to an outpouring of raves for the legislation. Democrats. Republicans and traditionally skeptical watchdog groups have put their muscle behind the USA Freedom Act.

But peek just past all the good will and there’s serious concern that Congress has much more to do. Not only are loopholes easy to find, but also the government has other ways of collecting the data.

The House bill would bar the NSA from relying on one part _ Section 215 _ of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to conduct bulk data collection.

Under the bill, the NSA would no longer be allowed to collect records of data such as phone numbers or the duration of all Americans’ calls. Phone companies would retain that data, but only for the same length of time they usually keep the material.

The Justice Department, though, could get such material in an emergency _ an important political concession, since many lawmakers were concerned that the government wouldn’t be able to react quickly if needed.

The legislation also would do nothing to restrict NSA analysts’ access to a pool of telephone data called the “corporate store,” which advocates say is the repository of millions of Americans’ calling records.

Unbeknownst to a lot of Americans, a large portion of communications data collection occurs under Executive Order 12333, signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In 2004, President George W. Bush amended EO 12333 with Executive Order 13355 then again in 2008 with Executive Order 13470.

Patrick Toomey, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, claims that when collecting data under Executive Order 12333, the government can maintain they are not targeting Americans while collecting “a huge amount of information that may pertain to Americans, as well as foreigners.”

Toomey reiterates, “FISA only addresses one piece of the collection the NSA is actually engaged in. The bill doesn’t even make an effort to undertake the kind of comprehensive harmonization of surveillance authorities that one would hope at this point.”

It comes as no surprise that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) would speak out on this issue claiming her committee “has never identified an instance in which the NSA has intentionally abused its authority to conduct surveillance for inappropriate purposes.”

However, Feinstein has conceded that her committee has more limited details on surveillance under Executive Order 12333 after leaks to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed reliance on the order, including through the collection of data from the links between Yahoo and Google data centers.

Feinstein, when asked about the House bill, said she wanted the White House to submit its own version and that the House bill should be taken seriously with a review as “the devil is in these details.”

Well, Feinstein would know about where the devil lies, that’s for sure. And who in their right mind would believe the White House, aka Obama, would want to do anything to curb any type of surveillance perpetrated against the American public when he directed the IRS targeting of conservative groups applying for tax exempt status? Feinstein, again, makes a dash for the spotlight in support of NSA spying as this is the woman who carries a firearm while wanting to deny average Americans the same right, but slammed the NSA/CIA and all other alphabet intelligence agencies for spying on her and her committee.

While these dim bulbs and dull knives trade rhetoric across the canyon of understanding the real issue – violation of the Fourth Amendment by government, the NSA, despite numerous lawsuits and the blatant constitutional violation, continues to spy on innocent Americans. That has not changed. From the looks of it, this bill will not change that fact, only attempt to limit it while providing multiple avenues for it to continue unabated. Talk about false legislation to appease a number of the population who expressed outrage over the activities exposed by Edward Snowden.

As has been said previously, once the power is gained, it will not be voluntarily relinquished. The federal government usurped the Fourth Amendment provision of the US Constitution and will not give it up despite public outcry. There has not been one member of Congress to come right out and say, “This is a total violation of American’s God-given right to privacy and we should immediately dismantle these activities.” They want to maintain these activities while attempting to “legislate” what spying is done against the American public. How long has Congress been trying to “legislate” and “oversee” any type of surveillance activity by intelligence agencies only to find out these agencies exceeded their authority? One could guess plenty. Congress, in response, attempts to further “legislate” and “oversee” to what many view as to no avail. At some point, an intelligent person would recognize the efforts are not working. To be honest, Congress knows this but continues with the facade that it can effectively “oversee” unconstitutional spying through reporting regulations and creation of special advocates.

Hello Congress, anyone at home? These agencies were given authority the government did not possess to violate the constitution from Congress and executive orders; faux rules were established from the outset to allow these agencies to engage in/conduct illegal activities. The only reason Congress responded, because they all already knew it was happening, was because of documented proof provided by Edward Snowden. How many in Congress stated they didn’t have a problem with NSA spying on them? Didn’t freaky Feinstein even say it was nothing for the public to be concerned about? Weren’t Americans told this is being done to keep everyone safe and protect national security by thwarting terrorism?

Again, members of Congress knew all along but are now engaging in a “save my butt” initiative. The spying on Americans is all about being able to finger anyone, anywhere, anytime when things are right for a massive round-up of dissidents on the road to total dictatorial tyranny. And, if there is some speculation on the massive spying that violated many sovereign nations, one could conclude it was to garner information that affected the US government’s meddling in the “changing” of governments in targeted nations – Egypt, Libya, Ukraine, etc. – and the covert operation to supply our enemies with arms. While this is speculation, it would not surprise anyone if it were true.

The fact remains the government want its cake and eat it too; therefore, the government will not be able to regulate or control itself. The police state is here. Obama and Congress are relying on Americans to be dull and dim-witted in order to continue their illegal, criminal, unconstitutional and offensive activities.

As Thomas Drake stated in his interview with McClatchy, “This could all end up in a shell game. It already has, in the past. Anytime these programs are scrutinized, another authority or program becomes a back door.”

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