Talks on NSA overhaul ‘accelerated’ after House vote, Wyden says

If you wanted proof that this anti-NSA fight isn’t over and has legs, as we say in the commenting biz, look no further than the Senate and Ron Wyden, in the wake of the historic vote in the House on the Amash-Conyers amendment (click to see why it’s historic, even bipartisan, in your grandfather’s sense of the term).

From The Hill (my emphasis and some reparagraphing):

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) vowed to press ahead with bipartisan talks about reining in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) data collections.

Wyden said this week’s close House vote on an NSA amendment had emboldened Senate critics of the NSA’s widespread collection of Americans’ phone records.

“The discussions certainly have accelerated since that extraordinary House vote … You are going to see a very strong and bipartisan effort in the Senate to pick up on the work of the House”” Wyden said in an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” program set to air Sunday [July 28].

Do you feel emboldened? I sure do. Stay with it; it’s not over, and our job is to play the game until it is, and not quit before that. Wyden hasn’t quit:

Wyden is working with Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) on proposals to amend the Patriot Act and stop the NSA from collecting phone records on all Americans.

He said there is bipartisan interest in the Senate in limiting the scope of electronic surveillance.

The whole article is worth your read. And watch this space, and keep the pressure on. I’ll have both House and Senate lists soon.

Scheduling note: I’m heading out tomorrow for a family event — one of the nice ones — and won’t be posting until I return early next week.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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54 Responses to “Talks on NSA overhaul ‘accelerated’ after House vote, Wyden says”

  1. Drew2u says:

    That’s assuming that Democrats want to be in control and be responsible instead of sitting back, creating a tempest in a teapot, and collecting fundraising donations for job security.
    That is also assuming that they do not care about what the Republicans are doing or – at worst – condoning such actions.

  2. cole3244 says:

    i don’t understand why the dems are so afraid of calling out the gop and their dirty tricks for winning elections, thanks for the video.

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  4. FLL says:

    Exactly. Repeal it. RyansTake, above, mentioned that the Patriot Act must be renewed by Congress every several years. I think I heard that too. Repealing the Patriot Act now would be grand, but at the very least, Congress can see its way clear to not renewing it the next time the Patriot Act comes up for renewal.

  5. RyansTake says:

    As I understand, the Patriot Act sunsets every few years. If we can’t pass real reform now, we can simply stop the Patriot Act from being renewed down the line. That should give us some legit leverage going forward.

  6. syradobomako says:

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    We do need to get our government
    back under control, but “spying on us” is not one of the problems.
    Snowden and Greenwald got it wrong, and they proved that the left is
    every bit as paranoid and logic-challenged as the Tea Party, just on
    different subjects.

  7. Naja pallida says:

    Amending the Patriot Act is akin to polishing a turd. Which Mythbusters has proven is possible… but no matter how nice and shiny you make it, it’s still a giant turd.

  8. Ford Prefect says:

    Look at it this way: In terms of driving the conversation, it makes sense to start with the bigger position, which is to abolish the PATRIOT Act. AUMF too, for that matter… Starting with a smaller position is essentially “self-negotiating” and we all know how well that works. It won’t get any attention in the media, for one thing, whereas “abolish PATRIOT” would get at least some attention.

    You’re probably right about none of this seeing the light of day. But that doesn’t mean the conversation can’t be pushed in that direction anyway.

  9. cole3244 says:

    i believe reagan defeating carter was our last chance to be the nation we claim to be, from honesty to hypocrisy and its been all downhill since.

  10. cole3244 says:

    and backing them up is the remnants of the dem party.

  11. MyrddinWilt says:

    I would not make any assumption about the value of particular procedural tactics in Congress. It is unlikely that either will get a vote or a hearing.

    Wyden and Holt will be sitting on different committees. What makes sense for one to propose as an amendment to a bill may not be available to the other.

    Repealing the AUMF and Patriot acts both look like good ideas to me. But they are completely different issues and one is not a substitute for the other.. We want both.

  12. Naja pallida says:

    If he just takes five 5-hour Energy shots, he’ll have an hour to spare after the show is over!

  13. karmanot says:

    And take B-12 shots to enhance his grueling penchant for torture.

  14. karmanot says:

    I remember that early segment where torture was first celebrated as a household entertainment. A suburban living-room has never looked the same to me since.

  15. karmanot says:

    Yes, the viral contempt for law embedded in the Nixon White House and stimulated by traitor toads like Cheney has mastated into a full blown cancer in the foundations of our Democracy.

  16. Indigo says:

    That too, but the actual year 1984 (I was teaching College English at the time) took a very strange turn in many literature classes where the novel was both celebrated as having reached the actual year and shut down since it became an obsolete work of fiction. The joke’s on us because it was then that it became obvious that we had become a static ‘1984’ and we’re trapped even more deeply in that goo now. Concerning that commentary: classroom silence continues to this day.

  17. HolyMoly says:

    Read what I wrote again. I addressed the following in the same paragraph:

    (1) Without evidence, why should we believe Snowden?
    (2) Using the same standards of proof, why should we believe government claims without any evidence?
    (3) Why would someone dismiss one and accept the other, thereby applying separate standards for separate instances of the same type of act?
    (4) The government would have a motive to lie: It distracts us from the most important issue — illegal spying on U.S. citizens. We soon forget about that and attack the messenger instead.

    And I’ll add:

    (5) Snowden doesn’t really have a good reason to lie: If he DID give secrets to Russia or China, it wouldn’t be long before we found out about it (with proof).

  18. Ford Prefect says:

    Exactly. This makes me wonder about Wyden. Rush Holt is introducing a bill to repeal it, so why not just co-sponsor that and have that debate, instead one of amendments?

    He’s not thinking this through.

  19. BeccaM says:

    ‘Amend the Patriot (sic) Act’? How about we work to repeal the whole damned thing, and the AUMF along with it.

  20. cole3244 says:

    1980 & reagan was the beginning of the end for america.

  21. karmanot says:

    Condew is every bit as paranoid and logic-challenged as the Tea Party, just on different subjects. BTW Spying on us IS a major PROBLEM.

  22. karmanot says:


  23. karmanot says:

    Thank you!!!!!!!……Henny Pennies like condew don’t believe in facts, they believe in imagination and fearful conspiracies.

  24. karmanot says:

    “with so much useless chatter” I think you got that covered sweet pea.

  25. karmanot says:

    Of for Christ’s sake condew, go hide under the bed and all will be OK. It’s paranoid, fear trembling apparatchiks like you who are turning this country into a wuss nation.

  26. condew says:

    We do need to get our government back under control, but “spying on us” is not one of the problems. Snowden and Greenwald got it wrong, and they proved that the left is every bit as paranoid and logic-challenged as the Tea Party, just on different subjects.

  27. karmanot says:


  28. karmanot says:

    Incorrect, Snowden did not commit Treason. Read The Constitution.

  29. karmanot says:

    The ‘loons’ is just a team name for fascists.

  30. condew says:

    If you didn’t fill the internets with so much useless chatter, their job would be easier :)

  31. karmanot says:

    It’s here…..has been for quite awhile.

  32. karmanot says:

    Enjoy the time off Gaius!

  33. condew says:

    “Snowden himself says”; doesn’t every reprobate in prison say “I’m innocent”?

  34. dula says:

    Every time a terrorist attack occurs, I hope you and all the pro-spying-on-ALL- ordinary-Americans supporters take credit for distracting law enforcement with trillions of useless data rather than having them focus on actual suspects of terrorism with useful intelligence that could actually prevent an attack (Boston).

  35. HolyMoly says:

    You say, “Giving the Chinese and the Russians information about how the U.S. checks on what they are doing and how truthful they are is treasonous”

    There is no evidence that he gave any information to the Russians or the Chinese. Snowden himself says, “I never gave any information to either government, and they never took anything from my laptops.” Administration officials and congressional scare-mongers want us to BELIEVE that he did, because it distracts us from the fact that they’re illegally spying on us (smoke and mirrors…smoke and mirrors). I guess you could say OF COURSE Snowden would deny it, so why should we believe him? But why should you believe Obama or McCain without any proof? You apply a high standard of proof in one instance, but in the other instance, you apply no standard at all and blindly, ignorantly accept it as the gospel truth.

    You say, “Telling all the terrorists in the world how we listen to them so they can stop us, including terrorists in Afghanistan, is also treasonous.”

    Like I said before, American citizens already knew that we were being spied on in one form or another. Don’t you remember the retroactive telecom immunity hoo-hah back in 2008? The one Obama vowed to take a stand against and filibuster…but which he actually voted IN FAVOR of? Terrorists are not stupid. They have always suspected the same. They use burn phones, if they use phones at all. They don’t sign up to Verizon and proceed to use that phone to conduct their business. Even if they DIDN’T know they were being spied on they would STILL take those precautions.

    You say, “Treason in time of war is so serious it carries the death penalty.”

    Good thing we’re not at war! “The Congress shall have Power…To declare War….” (U.S. Const. Art. 1 Sec. 8). The most recent declaration of war was in 1941. There hasn’t been one since. We are therefore not, in the legal sense, “at war.” It doesn’t matter, really, since Snowden isn’t guilty of treason because (1) it hasn’t been established as fact that he’s given anything to Russia or China and (2) what he has revealed thus far is illegal activity, which by right OUGHT to be revealed.

    You say, “Every time a terrorist attack occurs, I hope Snowden and all his supporters take some credit for the assistance they provided.”

    A couple of things: (1) Snowden has provided no assistance to anyone other than U.S. citizens. We now know for a fact that the government — with Obama’s holy blessing — has been violating our constitutional rights with reckless abandon. (2) Every time a terrorist attack occurs, I will remember how Obama continued Bush’s policy of indefinite detention without due process and without trial; I will remember his indiscriminate drone-bombings that have taken the lives of far too many innocent civilians (including returning to the site of a drone-bombing to kill the rescuers and drone-bombing the funerals of earlier drone-bomb victims); I will remember his unquestioning support of Israel in spite of their numerous violations of human rights and international law; I will remember his staunch support of brutal dictators in the Middle East (including Egypt’s Mubarak, whom he threw under the bus only AFTER he realized he couldn’t be saved); and many more things too numerous to mention. It’s our foreign policy and our violent actions around the world that causes terrorist attacks against U.S. targets. The CIA itself (during Rumsfeld’s tenure, no less) has come to this same conclusion.

    It’s nice to see that you’ve memorized the Obama talking points almost verbatim as regards terrorism in general and Snowden in particular. But they’re tired and easily debunked points.

  36. BeccaM says:

    China and Russia are our enemies? As in declared war enemies, which is what is required for a legal charge of treason, as clearly defined in our Constitution?

    Sorry, however you feel about Snowden, his motivations, or his choices, there are a great many crimes he can be charged with. Treason isn’t one of them.

  37. sane37 says:

    What’s more important is that the government is violating the Constitution and spying on us. That is what is really important. That we need to get our government back under control.

  38. Indigo says:

    I understand your point but as far as I’m concerned, ‘1984’ has been in place since 1984, that year during the Reagan administration when this foul stench became obvious and the book itself was somehow shelved in the schools. We’ve had 29 years go by and each year has seen a fuller expression of the totalitarian state where we now cautiously negotiate our way.

  39. Indigo says:

    OMG! I forgot about that one. Well, I repressed the memory of it.

  40. Naja pallida says:

    Hey, they’re bringing back “24”… only with a slight change in format, 12 episodes, and they will skip hours. Presumably so Jack can use the bathroom and eat a sandwich at some point during the day.

  41. condew says:

    Giving the Chinese and the Russians information about how the U.S. checks on what they are doing and how truthful they are is treasonous. Telling all the terrorists in the world how we listen to them so they can stop us, including terrorists in Afghanistan, is also treasonous. Treason in time of war is so serious it carries the death penalty. We don’t know what else he stole, but it is sitting in his “dead man switch”, and every enemy intelligence organization, and more than a few hackers, are probably looking for it and planning to break in.

    Every time a terrorist attack occurs, I hope Snowden and all his supporters take some credit for the assistance they provided.

  42. zorbear says:

    And “24” — never forget “24”, since it was the basis for the Rethugs believing torture works wonders…

  43. condew says:

    If “reigning in” NSA does not include strict new laws about what data business may collect and how long they can keep it, the government can just contract with some company like Haliburton or Xe to collect and store the information and then just answer NSA’s questions. I would not see that as an improvement; the next step would be a company like Xe seeking more profit by collecting personal data on everybody and answering anybody’s questions for a price.

  44. cole3244 says:

    1984 isn’t far off if it hasn’t already arrived thanks to the rw dems masquerading as liberals.

  45. LEEPERMAX says:

    They’re spinning in circles cuz GREENWALD is about to
    blow them all outta the water WEDNESDAY……big time.

    No more… less.

  46. Indigo says:

    This is a healthy development. This could provide the oversight that was sidelined during the hysterics of the Bush War when the Patriot Act was slapped together out of tissue paper notions and worst case scenarios concocted from low-budget movies.

  47. sane37 says:

    I agree. The “modern” definition of Treason seems to include any and all whistle blowing, which is unjust and unAmerican.

  48. HolyMoly says:

    “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” (U.S. Const. Art. 3 Sec. 3)

    Snowden didn’t do any of that, unless the “enemies” to whom he gave “aid and comfort” are U.S. citizens. And it wasn’t anything that we didn’t already suspect was happening in the first place. It’s a virtual guarantee that The Terrorists aren’t in the habit of setting up a Verizon account, and then proceed to use their phones to discuss their latest plans. They use burn phones for that — or no phones at all.

    Like Daniel Ellsberg, John Kiriakou, Bradley Manning, etc., at worst Snowden violated some federal laws guarding secrecy, something that “senior administration officials” seem to do on a regular basis and there’s no witch hunt to find them (“Zero Dark Thirty” comes to mind). They both have revealed classified information without authorization. The only difference is that the information Snowden revealed casts the administration in a very dark light, whereas the “administration official’s” leak lavishes Obama with praise.

    I would argue, though, that any illegal activity that is “classified” is done so only to cover up the crime, and in my opinion it has no business being classified and SHOULD be revealed.

  49. sane37 says:

    well, Snowden did commit treason. Even if it was the good kind.

  50. Bill_Perdue says:

    The stench of fear in the corridors of power. Gotta love it.

  51. MyrddinWilt says:

    It is certainly a process rather than a one shot vote. I am surprised that the vote was as close as it was. Since 9/11 the voting for civil liberties has been like voting for child pornography. The votes have been virtually unanimous with those voting against the bill being evenly divided between supporters of civil liberties and the loons who think more civil liberties should be ended.

  52. Anon says:

    This, coming from the guy who said Snowden is a traitor. The faint odour of hypocricy is telling.

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