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Post-Orlando Senate Rejects Gun Control, Calls for More Spying Instead

Posted by on June 22, 2016 in Government, Policies with 40 Comments
The bill would expand the FBI's authority to use the so-called National Security Letters (NSL) to obtain Electronic Communication Transaction Records (ECTR). (Photo: Adikos/flickr/cc)

The bill would expand the FBI's authority to use the so-called National Security Letters (NSL) to obtain Electronic Communication Transaction Records (ECTR). (Photo: Adikos/flickr/cc)

By Nadia Prupis | Common Dreams

The U.S. Senate is poised to vote on a bill that would expand the FBI's secret surveillance powers, including warrantless collection of browsing history, Reuters reports.

Lawmakers will vote on the amendment, sponsored by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), no later than Wednesday.

If approved, the bill would expand the FBI's authority to use the so-called National Security Letters (NSL) to obtain Electronic Communication Transaction Records (ECTR) such as email time stamps, senders, and recipients, as well as browsing metadata such as history and location—all without a warrant.

The amendment, which McConnell attached to a criminal justice appropriations bill, has received widespread criticism from civil liberties groups.

Digital rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) previously referred to the NSLs as “one of the most frightening and invasive” government surveillance powers that were expanded under the U.S. Patriot Act, and noted that the FBI is guilty of “systemic abuse of this power.”

NSL recipients are also subject to a gag order that prohibits them from ever revealing the existence of the letters to anyone, from their coworkers to the public at large.

Fight for the Future launched a campaign calling on senators to vote it down, stating, “The information the FBI wants is too sensitive to remove oversight.”

Opponents in the chamber agree. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), an outspoken critic of mass surveillance, said of a similar measure last month that it “takes a hatchet to important protections for Americans' liberty.”

Republicans invoked the mass shooting in Orlando earlier this month as justification for the new amendment. McCain said in a statement, “In the wake of the tragic massacre in Orlando, it is important our law enforcement have the tools they need to conduct counterterrorism investigations.”

However, as opponents noted, the amendment would have been unlikely to stop the attack. As national security expert Marcy Wheeler pointed out in a blog post on Tuesday, FBI director James Comey previously said that the agency had already obtained shooter Omar Mateen's ECTR. “So it is false to say this is a real response,” she wrote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly made the move late Monday—the same day that the Senate rejected four gun control measures also introduced as a response to the shooting.

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to pass a bipartisan amendment that would have limited government surveillance powers by prohibiting warrantless collection of Americans' electronic communications and banning the government from forcing technology companies to install backdoors to encrypted devices.

One of that bill's sponsors, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), said the House amendment “doesn't take any tools away from those that want to investigate what happened in Orlando, none whatsoever.”

“I think our citizens are fed up with being spied on by the government,” Massie said.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.


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  1. Plant the seed of positivity into your mind, nourish it daily with love & happiness will flower, as fear begins to die.

  2. Mrki Medo Mrki Medo says:

    Of course. And everbody has to have a chip in their hand, to be watched all the time. Gods will is not, that man shoud have free will, he shoud have a Big Brother.


  4. Mrki Medo Mrki Medo says:

    The Land that is build on genocide, slavery, robery, and its called The Land of free, and her task is to spread this freddom based on owning others, all around the globe.

  5. Lay Williams Lay Williams says:

    God is THE only answer. The world is too deep in its sinful nature…earth will not be peaceful anymore globally. Things will proceed to grow more evil and corrupt until the second coming. Yet Gods children are to still bring forth the fruit of the Spirit of God in hopes that the lost will look to God and repent

    • Preston Pope Preston Pope says:

      ISIS thinks the exact same thing, except they call their god something different. Maybe it’s time to stop seeing things religiously and start seeing everyone as people. There is no them and us, it’s just us, and we’re tearing each other apart over words written in books that are so old the people in them wouldn’t even survive a single day with what we have, and we glorify them for living in filth and squalor, and say, “That’s how it should be.” We should elevate as a race, the human race, not descend.

    • Ben Sperduti Ben Sperduti says:

      Can God pay overdue bills of those financially struggling? Or put food on the table of those who are hungry? Or cure autoimmune diseases affect by someone’s genetics?

    • Ben Sperduti Ben Sperduti says:

      And I second EXACTLY what Preston said. What you just said, Lay, is VERBATIM what ISIS says except they worship a deity with a different name. Just because you slap a different god on it doesn’t make what you’re saying any saner or more just.

    • Move to the middle east if you want to live in a theocracy

  6. Planet X will show them what they can do with their NWO policies.

  7. Perhaps if more people relied on each other …that is ourselves…instead of relying on Fukn politicians and a fictional character known as God, then maybe we would get ahead as a society…..politicians work by a “divide, and rule” mentality…..Christians work by a “super being who will give us all we need”….both of these ideals are false….we need to rely on each other in what is commonly known as “The real World”…..Religion and politics are very much the same….they divide and rule….us and them….my message is to ignore both these political regimens and use our time to help each other…this is how life was successful until politics and religion tried to control us….here endeth the lesson..

  8. We the People must speak out and demand representation: José Stevens 6-17-16…”Understanding the Dynamics of Hate”

  9. T.m. Twilley T.m. Twilley says:

    The attack succeeded in what it was used for, fear and loss of freedoms. Maybe they should ask why people would go to the extent of sacrificing their own lives to ask the American people to stop supporting the bombing of their people and countries. People don’t give up their own lives for no reason, stop killing their families and friends and countrymen and then they won’t want to retaliate, why is this so difficult to rationalize? If their nation was doing this to you and destroyed everything dear to you and then lived in peace on the other side of the world, wouldn’t you feel a vengeance to want to destroy them too? That’s not called a terrorist or extremist, that’s called a human who is furious at the people who have destroyed what he held dear and who no longer cared to live and who wants to do maximum damage to his oppressors… Scary to have to write this in layman’s terms so that it is understood what drives a “terrorist”

  10. T.m. Twilley T.m. Twilley says:

    The biggest winners out of this attack, the lobbyists waiting on more of your tax dollars to support their manufacturing if weapons and wars

  11. Charles Davy Charles Davy says:

    Its funny how all these attacks are used to justifying taking away rights from the 2nd amendment to privacy violations.

  12. We are no longer a free country, we are controlled by this government, and it is controlled by both sides o the isle… notice they want to keep tabs on the average American but not themselves?

  13. It comes down to whether you want to trade privacy for the illusion of security. I say no thanks.

  14. Go ahead take more of our rights. Why not, be like north korea!

  15. Gina Stevens Gina Stevens says:

    Jeez. Isn’t it enough they already don’t need warrants to come into your home, take money off your prepaid cards if they “suspect” you got your money illegally, etc? My goodness.

  16. Joe Smith Joe Smith says:

    Fuck the fbi this agency was started and ran by a crazy drag queen who cared nothing about people’s rights only using his power to destroy other people. It’s good to see nothing’s changed

  17. Mike Menkes Mike Menkes says:

    All the members of the house need to be working on a compromise on both privacy and guns which protects people from both terrorists and the abuses of government. Can we really trust these jokers to do this?

  18. What else thwarts terrorists? Not allowing them to buy weapons, or brag under FBI watch before any action is taken.

  19. Doug Edwards Doug Edwards says:

    of course they reject this one.look at all the repubicicans that have been caught with illegal shit on their computers and things.doing this to save their own asses while they let us the people,deal with things we shouldn’t have to.but yeah their right,their the party of the people smfh

    • Look another partisan…

    • Doug Edwards Doug Edwards says:

      no i’m just a person who’s fed up with the way things are being ran.cutting the EPA’s budget “which is meant to HELP the enviroment”,congress and senate taking money out of S.S. for theirselves because 170,000 a year isn’t enough to live on for them,REFUSE to make it illegal for people who are on the NO-FLY LIST to get firearms,deny every FACT thrown at them and denying damn near everything the president has tried to do in his 8 years.i’m just not a fucking moron like you and every other dumbass american.i RESEARCH things and don’t believe everything i see online or on the news

  20. Amazing. One side of the isle wants to expand the ability of the FBI to spy on the American people, the other side want the FBI to have the power to revoke American’s rights based solely on suspicion. Both bills fall apart in Senate, but democrats are only reeling about the one that actually grants power to the FBI to revoke a citizens rights. It’s like no one does any research into anything. I’m glad both bills failed. When are we going to stop giving our government the go-ahead to draft bills that treat us like potential threats?

  21. Toby Roels Toby Roels says:

    Ban all guns and cars since these are used to kill people!

  22. Cheecks Jamz Cheecks Jamz says:

    The FBI can go fuck themselves, good God.

  23. Its Time to Vote out the Republican Criminals… kick them out of office and elect good intelligent people

  24. Aus Pel Aus Pel says:

    Now we know why Orlando happened. Not to kill 49 people but to enact this type of shit.

  25. And another one gone.. and another one gone. Another one your rights bites the dust!! HEY HEY!!!

  26. Bill O Bill O'Brien says:

    It’s dead, for now…But the FBI as always, undeterred by Constitutional privacy rights, will be back trying to get Congress to grant them the right to invade anyone’s and everyone’s privacy, with a simple wave of their poisonous pen.

  27. Ummmmm……America spies on the rest of the world without adhering to any international laws or facing any consequences, so why should Americans be have issue with their own govt spying on them? A bit hypocritical really.

  28. Elken Alei Elken Alei says:

    Do we allowed to check your parents private life from toilet to payday,from dog food to bank account and verse vice parents to child!why all gov servant didn’t declared the bank statement ? Government will collapse ,go back to WW2. Communist win. Against crime activities is underseige not open vote. Public un educated common sense !

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