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Republican Leaders in Denial about Lies Behind Obama’s Surveillance State

Rand Paul 4th Amendment Restoration Act
In the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) domestic surveillance program Republican leaders are in denial about the existential threat to our liberty that Obama’s domestic spying programs represent.

Instead of standing up for the Constitution, and in particular the Fourth Amendment protections against unwarranted federal government searches, Republican congressional leaders continue to buy-into the idea that the surveillance state being created by Barack Obama is an exaggeration or is necessary to “protect” Americans from terrorist plots.

Last week the House Republican leadership skillfully and firmly scotched an amendment offered by principled limited government constitutional conservative Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan that would have reined-in the NSA by eliminating the funding for spying on Americans without a warrant.

Amash’s amendment simply said: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to collect tangible things (including telephone numbers dialed, telephone numbers of incoming calls, and the duration of calls) pursuant to an order under section 501 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1861) if such things do not pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation described in such section.”

This would have effectively prohibited the NSA from spending money collecting the phone records of anyone who is not an actually target of a national security investigation authorized by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).

Almost to a man, and woman, the House Republican leadership, and those who aspire to join it, voted against the Amash amendment.

Senator Rand Paul has taken a slightly different route with his S. 1121 the “Fourth Amendment Restoration Act of 2013,” which ensures the Constitutional protections of the Fourth Amendment are not violated by any government entity.

Now, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee has joined his House Republican colleagues in buying into the idea – or at least saying so in his public statements – that the NSA programs described by Snowden are an exaggeration.

“It wouldn’t just surprise me, it would shock me” if such programs existed said Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Georgia, on Sunday during “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos.

Chambliss’ “shock” it turns out is based on assurances he recently received from the NSA that the programs Snowden revealed and that The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald has written about have been exaggerated.

“I was back out at NSA just last week, spent a couple hours out there with high and low level NSA officials,” Chambliss said on “This Week.” “And what I have been assured of is that there is no capability at NSA for anyone without a court order to listen to any telephone conversation or to monitor any e-mail.”

According to Chambliss’ comments to Stephanopoulos any monitoring of emails is purely “accidental.”

“In fact, we don’t monitor emails. That’s what kind of assures me is that what the reporting is, is not correct. Because no emails are monitored now,” Chambliss said. “They used to be, but that stopped two or three years ago. So I feel confident that there may have been some abuse, but if it was it was pure accidental.” (emphasis added by CHQ)

So let’s see if we have this right: According to Chambliss the NSA used to have the capability to monitor emails, but voluntarily gave it up without any prompting from Congress. There was, or may have been some abuse, but it was an accident.

Pardon us if we say that makes no sense whatsoever.

And anyway, where were Chambliss and the rest of the Senate Intelligence Committee while all this “accidental abuse” was going on?

You may recall that James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, unequivocally said “no, sir” in response to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., asking him: “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” As Salon’s David Sirota and others have pointed out, Clapper’s response was shown to be a lie by Snowden’s disclosures, as well as by reports from The Guardian, the Washington Post, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News (among others). This is particularly significant, considering lying before Congress prevents the legislative branch from performing oversight and is therefore a felony.

Until the Republicans’ Capitol Hill leadership pulls its head out of the sand and stops buying the lies they are being fed by the Obama administration, or better yet, they are replaced by principled limited government constitutional conservatives like Rep. Justin Amash and Senator Rand Paul, the surveillance state is going to continue to grow and our privacy and liberty will continue to be diminished.

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NSA

The Democrats and establishment GOP are terrified it will become public what they have done to our liberties and especially what they have done to our Constitution.

Republicans In Denial

Dear/Madam:

The republicans in the House are not in denial. They were bought and paid for by the Department of Defense contractors.