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

    January 4, 2013

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.