The Backpage: Phone records, email and Congress

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 at 1:40am

Last week The Guardian and The Washington Post took turns breaking stories that have, to say the least, stirred the debate regarding privacy vs. security.

The first report came on Wednesday from The Guardian concerning the National Security Agency’s seizure of millions of Verizon customers’ phone records.

The Post followed on Thursday with its revelation of a secret NSA program named PRISM, which reportedly allows the U.S. government to directly tap into the servers of several popular Internet companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook and Google.

Included in the reports were PowerPoint slides explaining PRISM documents that were leaked by Edward Snowden, who has remained in headlines since.

Reports also noted that access for Prism is governed by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which was amended in 2008. The Guardian also reported that the secret FISA court granted the Verizon phone record request order to the FBI.

Sen. Bob Corker wrote President Obama a week ago expressing his concern.

“On its face, if true, the collection of this massive amount of detailed information about the communications of American citizens raises extremely serious concerns about why such a broad collection is necessary and how this information is used,” Corker wrote.

After looking at all this information, we were curious as to how our federal officials voted on the extension of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 and to extend the provisions of the Patriot Act, itself a source of controversy.

 

 

House votes

To reauthorize the Patriot Act:

Voted: May 26, 2011:

Diane Black (R) – Yes

Marsha Blackburn (R) – Yes

Steve Cohen (D) – No

Jim Cooper (D) – Yes

Scott DesJarlais (R) – Yes

John J. Duncan Jr. (R) – No

Stephen Fincher (R) – Yes

Chuck Fleischmann (R) – Yes

Phil Roe (R) – No

To extend FISA:

Voted: September 12, 2012

Diane Black (R) – Yes

Marsha Blackburn (R) – Yes

Steve Cohen (D) – No

Jim Cooper (D) – Yes

Scott DesJarlais (R) – Yes

John J. Duncan Jr. (R) – No

Stephen Fincher (R) – Yes

Chuck Fleischmann (R) – Yes

Phil Roe (R) – Yes

 

 

Senate votes

To reauthorize Patriot Act:

Voted: May 26, 2011

Lamar Alexander (R) – Yes

Bob Corker (R) – Yes

To extend FISA:

Voted: December 28, 2012

Lamar Alexander (R) – Yes

Bob Corker (R) – Yes

To require a report on the impact of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 on the privacy of the people of the United States:

Voted: December 28, 2012

Lamar Alexander (R) – No

Bob Corker (R) – No

 

7 Comments on this post:

By: ancienthighway on 6/18/13 at 2:55

It's somewhat ironic, and quite plainly, that those that were quick to pass these measures during the Bush administration, and further voted for the continued use of them, are suddenly all in a tiff because measures authorized were actually used during the Obama administration. I guess the difference is under Bush, nobody leaked the use.

Both the Patriot Act and FISA should be immediately repealed. Shut down TSA also. One of the primary tenants of this nation is freedom. The Bill of Rights grants a number of unalienable rights that must be protected. Protection doesn't come from the government and police snooping into the lives of the citizens. It doesn't come from what is in effect taking nude photos of airline passengers or harassing passengers in wheelchairs or that need a cane for mobility.

By: govskeptic on 6/18/13 at 3:53

You can bet one's medical records will be the next scandal that comes from this
same act in just a few years. Much of this same info being collected can also
be mined into a political profile for a large number of voters and then used by
the individual parties or candidates for election purposes.

By: Badbob on 6/18/13 at 6:03

Amazing that John Duncan and Steve Cohen stand out together against all other politicians.

By: pswindle on 6/18/13 at 10:41

Do you want another 9-11? Do you want other countries spying on us and we are not doing our part to protect America? In this digital age this has to be done.

By: ancienthighway on 6/18/13 at 12:13

This is not a police state. Spying on it's citizens is exactly what a police state would do.

How did all of this "intelligence gathering" help stop the Boston bombing or any of the countless mass shootings since 9-11? More often that not, it comes out that analysts may have identified the threat, but higher ups did nothing about it.

Spying on other countries has been going on for hundreds of years. How exactly is spying on citizens going to stop a foreign power from spying on the USA?

I just read an article about the immigration reform that's working it's way through congress. One of the provisions buried in it's depths is for anyone in this country to basically have permission from the government to work. A national ID databank. How long after that before one needs to have travel papers to leave your hometown. National security, right? You are only permitted to go to the grocery store one day a week, and you are limited by distance from your home as to which store you may shop at? More national security.

It's not the Republicans or Democrats moving us towards a police state. It's the people of this country that are complacent about their loss of rights.

By: pswindle on 6/18/13 at 1:01

You should have hear the hearing (C-Span) this morning on this topic. You are not being spied on. They are looking for numbers that are from overseas to the US. If they had this in place, 9-11 may not have happened. Get the facts before you jump to the wrong beat. If we stopped, do you think that the other countries would stop. How do you think that China has made the progress in their country? Their eyes and ears are turned our way night and day. This is nothing new because almost every country has been spying for years. Do you remember when China stripped an American plane down to the hull under Bush and nothing was done? China has gotten most of our secrets one way or the other. Sjhowden is a traitor, period. I'm not shocked at the NSA, I would be surprised if we were doing nothing.

By: ancienthighway on 6/18/13 at 2:59

Oh, right. Politicians and government employees don't lie, especially if their employment and jail time are on the line. Two of the most famous lies came from presidents, "I am not a crook." and "We didn't have sex."

While the purpose may have been to track down numbers from overseas, as those numbers reached the phone system here, you can believe that the people owning those phone numbers, and all associates were looked into. If you believe all record collection efforts stopped at our border, you are the one that needs to get a clue.