Share This Article with a Friend!

Amash Fighting Big Brother NSA

Rep. Justin Amash
Principled limited government constitutional conservative Representative Justin Amash (MI-3) has submitted to the House Committee on Rules an amendment to put the National Security Agency (NSA) back inside its proper constitutional boundaries. (read version 100 of the amendment HERE, read version 101 of the amendment HERE).

Amash’s amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 that would limit the National Security Agency’s use of taxpayer funds under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Amash has been a leader the small band of principled limited government constitutional conservatives fighting to get the NSA’s outrageously broad domestic surveillance program back inside strict constitutional limits. Amash has been joined on the amendment by constitutional conservative Representative Tom Massie of Kentucky and others.

Amash’s  amendment is quite simple: “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 effectively prohibit 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).

But isn’t the FISC the secret court that only allows the government to appear and that allegedly authorized the unconstitutional collection of domestic phone records in the first place?

Amash is working on that too.

Earlier this month Amash and fifteen other Members of Congress filed an amicus brief with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), urging the court to release its secret opinions interpreting Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Recent leaks to the media revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) has conducted a massive surveillance program on all domestic telephone users over the last seven years.

“Secret law is anathema to a free country. Congress cannot effectively legislate until it knows what the law is. The American public cannot engage in a meaningful debate about liberty and surveillance until it knows what its government is doing,” said Amash. “We call on the FISA court to release its significant Patriot Act rulings.”  (you can read the brief here)

As Amash noted when this news of the NSA domestic surveillance program broke, “The government is vacuuming up data on every call made by every customer of a major phone company. This sort of sweeping surveillance is not even plausibly authorized by statute, let alone the Constitution.”

Amash’s principled stand for liberty and privacy is in stark contrast to the House Republican leadership who have largely ignored the illegal and unconstitutional acts of the Obama security apparatus in favor of a “security at any cost” attitude toward the NSA.

“The astonishing amount of information the government is secretly seizing from Americans should shock anyone who has even a passing interest in privacy, civil liberties, or the Constitution,” said Amash.

We agree and it will be interesting to see if Amash’s amendment is made in order and gets a debate and a vote on the House floor. Check CHQ as the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 moves through the process for further information and coverage on this important issue.

Share this

Smaller, Constitutional Federal Government

The only way to restore smaller, constitutional federal government is to starve the current, corrupt, bloated, out-of-control and menacing one of taxpayer funds. This is and always has been up to the House of Representatives to accomplish, under the constitution. Instead, the Republican-controlled House collectively keeps the budget deficit pipeline flowing wide open while they mouth platitudes about balanced budgets and smaller government. Sometimes, somebody will introduce some amendment that nibbles around the edges of a problem. But why not instead propose to reduce the NSA's budget by 10% or 20% or 50%? That would certainly get NSA's attention and incentivize it to stop targeting law-abiding American civilians. Plus it would actually reduce the deficit and our national debt growth. Why not? Perhaps because nobody on either side of the Republican House, including Rep. Amash, would want to be forced to vote for a real cut. Perhaps it's just more artful baloney, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Pay attention to what these jokers actually accomplish instead of what they say or propose. Then throw them out and try again!