Common Dreams - June 19, 2019
Privacy advocates and civil liberties defenders are expressing outrage after the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday night voted down a bipartisan amendment designed to end, as one group put it, the U.S. government's "most egregious mass surveillance practices" first revealed by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In a final vote of 253-175, it was 126 Democrats who joined with 127 Republicans to vote against an amendment introduced by Rep Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) that would have closed loopholes in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that critics charge has allowed the NSA to abuse warrantless surveillance capabilities and target the emails, text messages, and internet activity of U.S. citizens and residents. See the full roll call here.
Among the high-profile Democrats to vote against the bill was Rep. Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a frequent and outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.
"It's good to know that House Democrats like Adam Schiff are 'resisting' Trump by voting to ensure that he has limitless authority to conduct mass warrantless surveillance," said Evan Greer, the deputy director of Fight for the Future, in a statement rebuking those Democrats who sided with the president and the Republicans in voting down the Amash-Lofgren amendment.
While House Democrats otherwise treat Trump as an existential threat who cannot be trusted on any matter, Greer and her group said it was bewildering to see a majority of the party leave such "terrifying" mass surveillance powers in the hands of the president and the intelligence agencies he largely controls. ...
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