An effort is underway in the House (Thanks to Justin Amash, the Republican congressman from Michigan) to defund part of the NSA. Special interests within and around the agency are concerned. For pretty much forever the agency has been seen as untouchable.
And though the attached article doesn’t touch on this aspect, it is important for people to remember that there is a massive complex of government contractors which work for and /or supply the NSA which wields lots of power on the Hill. The amounts which flow to these “private” interests is likely huge. (Judging from their buildings which litter Northern Virginia and southern Maryland, we don’t get to see actually how much they get as the information is classified.)
But neither the agency nor its many private satellites probably need to worry too much. For all the attention the NSA is getting at this moment, for all the calls for greater transparency, Diane Feinstein says she has the NSA’s back. As she is the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee that matters. The dollars will likely keep flowing as before.
We can only hope that people like Mr. Amash in the House, and Mr. Wyden in the Senate will keep the light burning on this issue. The establishment wants America to be OK with the NSA spying on them. I’m thankful at least a few people in the Capitol care enough to say and do something even if the rest of Congress quietly bows and pretends that the Bill of Rights isn’t being violated.
“If we do not seize this unique moment in our constitutional history to reform our surveillance laws and practices, we will live to regret it,” he (Wyden) said.
“Sen. Mark Udall and I tried again and again to get the executive branch to be straight with the American public, but under the classification rules observed by the Senate, we are not even allowed to tap out the truth in Morse code,” he said. “And we tried just about everything else we could think of to warn the American people.”
“I tell Oregonians that there are effectively two Patriot Acts,” he said. “The first is the one they can read on their laptop in Medford or Portland, analyze and understand,” Wyden said. “Then there’s the real Patriot Act – the secret interpretation of the law that the government is actually relying on.”