Congress Expands Spying On Americans + Nadler: More Oversight Needed for Warrantless Wiretaps + Kucinich: Let’s Vote Against Big Brother

Dandelion Salad

FISA - illegal domestic spying - feb 2001, BEFORE 9/11

Image by Bebopsmile via Flickr

Sep 12, 2012 by

On Wednesday, the US House of Representatives will vote on whether or not to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. If passed, FISA will essentially extend the powers of the government and give the authorization to wiretap Americans without a warrant. As of now it is unknown exactly how many Americans are being spied on, but the question is how many more Americans will be scrutinized because of this legislation. RT Producer Adriana Usero joins us with more.

Congress expands spying on Americans


Sep 12, 2012 by

Rep. Jerry Nadler speaks out against a five year extension of the warrantless wiretapping provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The extension fails to provide sufficient opportunity for Congressional oversight of these spy programs, instead giving them a blank check to operate for the next five years. It also fails to include measures that would provide a degree of transparency in the secretive judicial proceedings of the FISA court. When wiretapping without a warrant has the potential to ensnare innocent Americans, more safeguards and oversight are necessary. Failure to ensure that such rights are protected, said Nadler, is a dereliction of Congress’ constitutional duty.

Nadler: More Oversight Needed for Warrantless Wiretaps


Sep 12, 2012 by

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today spoke on the House floor opposing H.R. 5949, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2012.

Kucinich Opposes Blanket Reauthorization of FISA Law


Kucinich Opposes Blanket Reauthorization of Law Allowing Government to Record Phone Calls and Emails Without a Warrant
Washington, Sep 12, 2012

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today spoke on the House floor opposing H.R. 5949, the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2012.

See video here. [See above video.] Congressman Kucinich’s full remarks follow.

“To my friends on the other side of the aisle who have expressed passion about passing this, you’re good Americans. I respect your position. I respectfully disagree.

“We have to defend our country from attacks from outside. I voted, along with other Members of this Congress right after 9/11 for the United States to defend itself.

“It’s equally important that we not lose our freedoms and our constitutional protections while engaged in our defense. We take an oath not only to defend the Constitution, but we have to keep in mind that that oath and that Constitution is really part of America’s first line of defense.

“I think of what it’s like to make a phone call, any one of us right now, we make a phone call, even from this Capitol, call a friend overseas and start talking about matters relating to what’s happening in America, what’s happening in the world. The way this law is written, without changes, those phone calls could be intercepted. They could not only be intercepted, but they can be downloaded, transcribed and stored for future use by the government. I have a problem with that.

“It’s a great concern. What happens is that everyone then becomes suspect when Big Brother’s listening. I don’t think that government should have the right to listen into people’s phone calls unless there’s a warrant. They need probable cause. That’s what the Fourth Amendment is about. This bill doesn’t have those protections. It extends government’s authority to conduct surveillance of persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States for five years and there’s a blanket extension which is an abdication of Congress’ constitutional obligation to protect and defend the Constitution and to protect the civil liberties of all Americans.

“Given the information we know about our government’s past abuse of surveillance authorities, if we pass this bill without any changes to ensure adequate congressional oversight and transparency, we’re losing an opportunity. Since the amended FISA Act passed in 2008, the government released very little information on how it uses the powers granted under this act. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation recently pointed out, “nobody in the government is willing to answer questions about how many Americans’ phone calls or emails have been or are being collected and read without a warrant under the authority of the FISA Amendment Act.” Big Brother is not accountable.

“Even more disturbing is that it’s well-known that the government has violated the FISA Amendments Act despite the broad surveillance authorities it provides the government. A Freedom of Information request by the ACLU revealed that violations of the FISA Amendments Act and the constitution continue to occur on a regular basis until at least March, 2010. According to the ACLU, the law is written so broadly that a phone call by a U.S. citizen to someone overseas discussing general foreign affairs could be listened in on.

“Section 702 of this act allows the government to intercept a communication of any U.S. citizen absence probable cause, a subversion of their Fourth Amendment right.

“Big Brother is listening. There’s no doubt that Congress is abdicating its responsibility when it passes a blanket extension of this bill without knowing how many Americans have been affected by surveillance under FISA or the government’s interpretation of the law. Without vital civil liberty safeguards and minimum transparency, an extension should be rejected. Big Brother’s not accountable. Let’s vote against Big Brother. Let’s vote to protect the Fourth Amendment.”



Sep 12, 2012 by

The House of Representatives has voted on extending the FISA Amendments Act, a 2008 legislation that allows for warrantless wiretapping of Americans. Alan Butler of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) joins RT’s Kristine Frazao for the details on today’s vote from Washington.

Congress extends spying on Americans under FISA


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George Orwell’s 1984 (must-see film)