FISA Sponsor Says Domestic Spy Program Must Be Kept Secret For A Secret Reason

    January 4, 2013
    Zach Walton
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Five more years of warrantless surveillance at the hands of the NSA and other spy agencies was signed into law before the new year thanks to the quick passage of FISA. We already discussed how the bill’s passage proves that Congress and President Obama really don’t care about digital privacy, but a video of the FISA debate provides more insight into just how ridiculous the bill’s domestic spying powers have gotten.

The CATO Institute recently put together a short video detailing how rushed the FISA debate was before it was passed by the Senate. It goes into detail on all the amendments proposed by the likes of Rand Paul, Patrick Leahy, Ron Wyden and others. These amendments would have better protected the fourth amendment in the digital age, but the bill’s supporters were having none of it.

As TechDirt points out, the most insane moment of the entire debate is when Sen. Dianne Feinsteine, the bill’s sponsor, said Wyden’s request to know how many Americans have been targeted by FISA must be kept secret for a secret reason. She claims to have a classified document that contains the reason, and she’s willing to show it, but isn’t willing to let anyone read it.

It’s ridiculous to think that a law that should only be targeting foreign communications is wrapped in so many secrets regarding its use in targeting U.S. citizens. It’s like the government is saying that you signed away your digital rights as soon as you started using the Internet or a mobile device. It seems that the only way to truly protect your privacy anymore is to completely remove yourself from the Internet, and only use forms of communication that are protected by the fourth amendment – like snail mail.

  • JC

    She’s already acted against the 4th, and now she’s moving against the 2nd. I wonder why Sen. Feinstein wants to abolish the Bill of Rights so strongly, and if she should be allowed to keep her office because of it.

  • http://www.bloketoys.co.uk BlokeToys

    I find this fascinating.

    In America, you wave around your rights and constitution when it comes to taking assault rifles out of peoples hands or fighting the idea of providing healthcare to those who cannot afford it, but you conveniently forgot it when the Patriot Act was introduced, or protesters in Oakland were assaulted with rubber bullets and gas canisters, or innocent people kidnapped and detained without charge, or drones murder innocent people in foreign lands “accused” by “someone” in a secret office of committing a crime with no evidence offered and absolutely no oversight…

    This is such insane hypocrisy it’s almost comedic.

    As an outsider, America is now a scary place. It really looks to the rest of the world as though there was something akin to a silent military coup, and that Obama is pretty powerless in the face of the NSA, CIA or any other alphabet agency.

    How do Americans claim to live by their constitutional rights when it suits them, but ignore it completely in instances like this? Now, all it takes is for someone to say “it’s secret” and everyone is just supposed to agree and comply?!

    I used to love the US. I started planning for a month long backpacking holiday over twenty years ago. I have been able to do that any year for the past fifteen, but now I no longer want to. America is a scary place in my opinion, I would actually feel safer backpacking through India than I would America.

    I would say good luck to all my American friends out there, but I think you pretty much did this to yourselves when you handed over power to your military and security services through the Patriot Act. You should have stood up then and refused it, but because it didn’t require anyone to hand over a gun it wasn’t deemed important enough.