More than two weeks after outlining principles behind the USA FREEDOM Act in a speech at the Cato Institute, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) will reportedly introduce the anti-domestic surveillance measure today with strong bipartisan support, according to Breitbart, a conservative news outlet.
Sensenbrenner, who sponsored the PATRIOT Act in 2001, has emerged as one of the primary critics of the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs and contends that the Justice Department and intelligence is relying on a broad interpretation of the anti-terrorism law, far beyond congressional intent, to collect Americans’ phone and Internet metadata.
The FREEDOM Act would limit the NSA’s ability to collect data “adopting a uniform standard for intelligence gathering under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act,” according to Sensenbrenner.
What’s more, the measure would reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) by creating a civil liberties advocate, create new reporting requirements and oversight from Congress for the court, and allow the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board subpoena authority. The legislation will also reform National Security Letters (NSL) to ensure that the current administration or its predecessors don’t use another agency to collect bulk data.
The latest revelations concerning the National Security Agency (NSA) could potentially tip the balance in favor of a measure to prevent the intelligence agencies from broadly spying on Americans.
Last week, the Washington Post reported that the NSA had broken privacy rules 2,776 times over a 12-month period dating back to May 2012, pushing key lawmakers to call for increased congressional oversight of the surveillance programs.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced plans for a hearing over the programs after the latest report, according to The Hill, and expressed concerns that Congress is “still not getting straight answers” from the administration and intelligence officials. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the Washington Post’s report “extremely disturbing” and called for more congressional oversight.
But the most interesting comments about the latest revelations came from Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), who proposed an amendment last month that would have limited the NSA’s spying programs. The amendment, which was defeated by a very slim margin, would have denied funding to execute any FISA court order that isn’t specific to a person who is the subject of an actual investigation.
Don’t look now, folks, but the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is making a comeback thanks to President Barack Obama.
Between the end of 2011 and early 2012, online activists were able to raise a firestorm over legislation — Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), and CISPA — that would have severely diminished Internet privacy. Thanks to the outcry, all three bills eventually died.
According to a report yesterday from The Hill, President Obama will on Wednesday sign an executive order — completely bypassing Congress, which is becoming an all too familar pattern with this White House — that will implement cybersecurity measures from against attack on the United States:
The White House is poised to release an executive order aimed at thwarting cyberattacks against critical infrastructure on Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter told The Hill.
The highly anticipated directive from President Obama is expected to be released at a briefing Wednesday morning at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where senior administration officials will provide an update about cybersecurity policy.
The executive order would establish a voluntary program in which companies operating critical infrastructure would elect to meet cybersecurity best practices and standards crafted, in part, by the government.