Anger remains in Congress over government spying on Americans

The government is watching us but who is watching them?

The government is watching us but who is watching them?

Six weeks after a leaked document exposed the scope of the government’s surveillance of Americans’ phone records, many Democrats and some Republicans are still angry about it.

On Wednesday, key administration figures from the intelligence world will appear before the House Judiciary Committee to answer another round of questions.

The questioners include Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the Republican who sponsored the USA Patriot Act, which governs the collection of phone records. Sensenbrenner has said he was “extremely troubled” by the administration’s legal interpretation that permitted the government to gather hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone records.

Shortly after the surveillance was revealed, Rep. John Conyers, the panel’s ranking Democrat, said he feared “that we are on the verge of becoming a surveillance state.”

“Over the past decade — under the leadership of four chairman with diverse political views — the members of this committee have vigorously debated the proper balance between our safety and our constitutional right to privacy,” Conyers said in remarks prepared for Wednesday’s hearing. “We never — at any point during this debate — approved the type of unchecked, sweeping surveillance of United States citizens employed by our government in the name of fighting the war on terrorism.”

Those facing the committee will include Deputy Attorney General James Cole and National Security Agency deputy director John C. Inglis. The others testifying on behalf of the administration are Robert S. Litt, general counsel in the Office of Director of National Intelligence, and Stephanie Douglas, executive assistant director of the FBI’s National Security Branch.

Members on both sides of the aisle are likely to look for clear answers on why, in the Obama administration’s view, the gathering of all phone records is lawful.

The committee also will hear from administration critics, among them Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union. Jaffer, the group’s deputy legal director, said in testimony prepared for Wednesday’s hearing that excessive secrecy on surveillance issues “has made congressional oversight difficult and public oversight impossible.”

Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said in prepared testimony that the “massive” collection of information on Americans is unprecedented and that the surveillance of Americans “poses a significant and perhaps unprecedented challenge to our system of constitutional checks and balances.”

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Associated Press writer David Espo contributed to this report.
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Copyright  © 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright  © 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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4 Responses to "Anger remains in Congress over government spying on Americans"

  1. Carl Nemo **==  July 17, 2013 at 8:44 am

    ***

    Congress is “angry”

    ***

    Sensenbrenneer (Mr. Patriot Act) is “troubled”

    ***

    Conyers… “that we are on the verge of becoming a surveillance state.”

    snippet extracts from article

    ***

    Give me a break. What a bunch of scheming hypocrites. They are all traitorous, anti-constitutionalists for creating this Orwellian surveillance state nightmare and we’re supposed to believe they are concerned…NOT!

    Rest assured while they feign outrage, behind the scenes they have even more draconian surveillance schemes on the drawing board. This latest flap is just a punctuation mark within their greater, dark plans for suppressing our core freedoms.

    The only thing that might save us is a major mid-term flush of these key Congressional players that are up for reelection regardless of their many years of incumbency. They survive because they pitch scraps of U.S. Treasury pork back to their constituents in Mayberry, USA wherever, thus placating and preventing their summary replacement. Americans can be bought off rather cheaply when it comes to this ‘pork’ vs. the maintenance of their Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms.

    Seemingly that’s all the pedestrian class cares about is a steady ration of loaves of bread (for the pork) and circuses…no?

    There is one cataclysmic force on the horizon that will force a sea change and that’s our nation’s financial insolvency leading to sovereign default. It’s not an if, but simply when scenario?

    Europe is unravelling regardless of the fact the MSM is hiding the truth that Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and a major player France are in deep trouble. These Eurozone members are going under regardless of the patchwork central banking schemes. Several major European banks are on the verge of collapse including the once mighty German banking system. When that happens it will mark the end of the Euro note. This collapse will travel across the Atlantic in tsunami like fashion taking out the already severely weakened American banking system too. Modern banking is so intertwined by exotic first party/counterparty, unsecured banking agreements that there’s no way around such an event. On any given day there’s an estimated 640 Trillion dollars of ‘hot’ funny money moving about the planet as a function of these hyper-bloated, unsecured, financial agreements. Incredibble ‘risk’ has been created out of thin air by terminally corrupt central bankers, now run amok.

    ‘Yes, Virginia’, they are now so big that they will assuredly fail. So if these varmints in Congress think the current, wimpy sequestration scheme was draconian, they’ll know the meaning of financial Armageddon once this occurs.

    They’ll no longer have money to even pay the NSA’s electric bill much less any of these other bloated behemoths that are virtually destroying the USA, not just in treasure, but so too our core freedoms.

    They’ve sown the wind and so too shall reap the whirlwind for this continued folly in high places.

    Carl Nemo **==

    • Jon  July 17, 2013 at 9:01 am

      “They’ll no longer have money to even pay the NSA’s electric bill much less any of these other bloated behemoths that are virtually destroying the USA, not just in treasure, but so too our core freedoms.”

      On that I agree with you, but I will also point out that whatever hits the fan shall not be evenly distributed when it does.

      They’ve already got theirs in the Caymans. Why should they care about us?

      J.

      PS – Replacing them won’t help. You’ll either get more of the corrupt elite, or the innocent easily corrupted. J.

  2. Wayne K Dolik  July 17, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I agree with both of you. It is all a show by people that knew what was really going on. ” Move along nothing to see.” It is just the old two step to keep us pacified. To little to late.

  3. Sherry  July 18, 2013 at 6:29 am

    I wrote my congressman, Bob Goodlatte on several occasions expressing my displeasure regarding the Patriot Act. He was all for it. Voted for it each and every time.
    There he was yesterday, all red faced and full of indignation such spying could happen under his watch! O, if it wasn’t so tragic, I would lmao.
    He is a great actor though. Send him to Hollywood.
    Sadly, he has run mostly unopposed since his election in 1992.
    He is there for rhe duration.

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