Peter King

Obama To Talk NSA Reforms Friday, It May Disappoint You

President Obama is expected to present his proposal addressing reforms to the National Security Agency (NSA) this Friday following a lengthy review of the agency in the wake of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations last summer of agency data collection.

But, as James Oliphant writes in the National Journal, don’t expect to see anything really concrete addressing the overreach of the agencies’ powers into the lives of ordinary Americans. Not likely from a man who is now promoting a “9/11 justification” for the NSA program:

To lay the groundwork for that position, aides to the president told the Los Angeles Times this weekend that the NSA’s metadata collection scheme could have prevented the Sept. 11 attacks. What’s more, Obama has adopted that “9/11 justification” for the NSA program, the paper reported.

That’s a blinking-red signal that the administration is not about to be accused of making the country more vulnerable by tampering with such a preventive weapon. Remember that George W. Bush, a Republican, walked back his warrantless wiretapping program in 2007 after a public outcry. This president, a Democrat, isn’t going to follow suit—especially given the new instability in Iraq and worries about the vacuum left by the coming pullout from Afghanistan.

Today in Liberty: Email privacy reform bill hits the magic number, Senate Conservatives Funds goes on the air for Chris McDaniel

“Since this is an era when many people are concerned about ‘fairness’ and ‘social justice,’ what is your ‘fair share’ of what someone else has worked for?” — Thomas Sowell

— Email Privacy Act hits majority support: We mentioned in Tuesday’s Today in Liberty that the Email Privacy Act was very close to 218 cosponsors, a majority of the House of Representatives. Well, it happened. “The Email Privacy Act from Reps. Kevin Yoder (R-Kans.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) gained its 218th cosponsor late on Tuesday, giving the sponsors hope that the bill could move this year,” The Hill reports. “The sponsors have been talking with House leadership and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) about moving the bill forward, according to Yoder.” The Email Privacy Act would close a loophole in the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act that allows law enforcement agencies to access emails and other electronic communications older than 180 days without a warrant.

The Washington Establishment is “concerned” Dave Brat’s win could “empower” conservatives… and they should be.

Peter King concerned

Wouldn’t you know it, Establishment Republicans like Congressman Peter King are “uncomfortable” with the success off grassroots-backed conservatives like Dave Brat, who shocked Washington on Tuesday night when he defeated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by a pretty wide margin.

Brat ran a truly grassroots campaign against Cantor’s crony capitalist tendencies.

His success has reinvigorated Tea Party-endorsed Republicans, according to The Hill:

Tea Party-backed senators eyeing White House bids in 2016 are encouraged by the victory of an underfunded challenger to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), a grandee of the GOP establishment.

Their glee comes as mainstream Republicans are wringing their hands about what the historic upset means for the future of their party, fretting that it could signal a larger Tea Party uprising.

Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) argued David Brat’s 11-point win showed that conservative principles can triumph over fundraising might and special-interest backing.

Cruz declared the surprise development demonstrates “the conservative base is alive and well.”

Rubio praised Brat as “very impressive” and noted the similarities between their views.

Paul pointed to the role played by “liberty” voters who are leery about government surveillance.

RNC denounces NSA’s “unconstitutional surveillance”

In the latest example of the growing libertarian influence inside the GOP, the Republican National Committee (RNC) passed a resolution on Friday renouncing the National Security Agency’s phone metadata collection program:

During its winter meeting in Washington, the committee on Friday overwhelmingly approved a measure calling for lawmakers to end the program and create a special committee to investigate domestic surveillance efforts.

The resolution, which declared that “unwarranted government surveillance is an intrusion on basic human rights,” among other condemnations, passed the committee on a voice vote with near-unanimous support. Only a small minority of the 168 RNC members dissented.

The committee criticized the government’s bulk collection of records about all phone calls, which emerged as one of the most controversial programs revealed in leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. That NSA effort “is in itself contrary to the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” the RNC said in the resolution.
[…]
The resolution called for Republican lawmakers to create a new panel “to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying” and to develop recommendations to end “unconstitutional surveillance” and hold officials responsible for the snooping “accountable.”

John McCain in 2000: Only Republican organization on Peter King represents is the Irish Republican Army

Peter King

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) are interesting characters. Both are often portrayed as part of the Old Guard of the Republican Party, frequently taking up the mantle of national security, including more war and domestic surveillance.

But King’s recent disgusting tirade against Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has prompted some conservatives, even those who agree with him on national security, to speak out. Some, in fact, are going so far to highlight his past support of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), a Marxist nationalist group that for years used terrorism and the deaths of innocents as a tool to advance its cause.

Erick Erickson, editor-in-chief of RedState.com, pointed yesterday to comments made by McCain in 2000 during an appearance on CNN’s The McLaughlin Group in which he lambasted the King’s self-interest and support for the IRA.

“There is little in Mr. King’s singularly unimpressive legislative record to suggest that he is motivated by anything other than a compulsion to utter provocative sound bites,” said McCain. “I have never met a single other Republican who felt that Mr. King spoke for the party or for any Republican other than himself.”

“Indeed, the only Republican organization I have ever noticed Mr. King represents is the Irish Republican Army,” he added.

Peter King’s disgusting, foolish attack on Rand Paul

Peter King

If you disagree with Rep. Peter King (R-NY) on the issue of NSA surveillance, then you hate America and don’t care if people die. Or something. That’s what the cantankerous New York Republican intimated on Sunday during an appearance on Fox News.

Specifically, King was targeting Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who has spoken out against the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs and plans to file a class-action lawsuit against the controversial intelligence agency.

“The NSA is doing exactly what it’s supposed to be doing. No one’s privacy is being violated. Despite what Senator Rand Paul was talking about, the NSA is not listening to American phone calls,” said King on Americas’s News HQ. “All they are doing is they are taking the records from the phone companies of phone number to phone number — no names, no address, no content.”

Obama invites congressional leaders to White House, Boehner talks of a “grand bargain”

Wednesday didn’t bring much in the way of a resolution to the government shutdown. There was, however, some talking between the White House and congressional leaders, the first real discussion since the government shutdown began.

As the second day of the government shutdown began, it seemed that the war of words between all sides would continue. In an op-ed at USA Today yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) wrote that President Barack Obama. “For years, the president has said that in a divided government, no one gets 100% of what they want,” he wrote. “But when will his words match his actions?”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) floated the idea of opening negotiations on tax reform, through a conference committee, if House Republicans would pass a so-called “clean” Continuing Resolution (CR) and bring the government shutdown to an end. That idea was quicky dismissed by a spokesman for Boehner.

Word broke in the afternoon that President Obama would host congressional leaders from both parties to the White House to for talks on ending the shutdown, which was the first real discussion since the shutdown began on Tuesday.

While the meeting lasted for 90 minutes, there were no signs that the sides were any closer to an agreement. The Hill reports that the White House now wants to tie the debt ceiling to the CR while Boehner is sticking by his guns, demanding concessions on ObamaCare.

Big government Peter King says he’s “running for president”

Peter King

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), who is among the biggest war hawks in Washington, recently told a New Hampshire radio station that he’s running for president, becoming the first Republican to announce for 2016:

In a radio interview this week, the Republican lawmaker told a New Hampshire station that he was in the state “because right now I’m running for president,” according to The New York Daily News.

The visit was King’s second of four trips to the traditional home of the nation’s first presidential primary.

The announcement makes King the first Republican to officially declare their intentions to run for president in 2016.
[…]
King is serving his 11th term in the house. Over the years he has been a vocal member of his party at times, especially on foreign policy issues.

King has been very critical of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and others in the Republican Party who have expressed a cautious approach to foreign policy, frequently labeling them as ”isolationists,” which is intended to be a pejorative; though the word has lost its meaning because it has become so overused.

Syria might be turning neocons into skeptics

John Bolton

If you watch Ed Schultz’s show or read his tweets (and let’s be honest, only schadenfreude-fueled right-wingers do), you’d think that conservatives were leading the march to war in Syria:

Neoconservatives specifically are often assumed to be most forcefully pushing for foreign intervention. In most cases, that has been true. But on Syria, even some of the most boisterous neocons in the past have been cautious or outright skeptical.

John Bolton, George W Bush’s former late-term UN Ambassador, said yesterday that if he were in Congress, he wouldn’t vote to approve a strike on the Assad regime:

“I don’t think it’s in America’s interest. I don’t think we should, in effect, take sides in the Syrian conflict. There’s very little to recommend either side to me. And I think the notion that a limited strike, which is what the president seems to be pursuing, will not create a deterrent effect with respect either to Syria’s use of chemical weapons or, more seriously, Iran’s nuclear weapons program. So, all in all, since I don’t see any utility to the use of military force in Syria in this context, I would vote no.”

House Republican Wants to Prosecute Journalists for Reporting on Leaks

Peter King on CNN

It’s not just the Obama Administration that wants to go after journalists. During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said that the the government should prosecute reporters when they publish sensitive information from leakers and whistleblowers.

Cooper and King were discussing the recent leak about the National Security Agency’s broad collection of Americans’ phone records, even if they aren’t suspected of terrorist activity. Glenn Greenwald, a journalist at The Guardian, published information he received from a whistleblower about the secret program. The story renewed debate on the PATRIOT Act and government surveillance.

“[I]f they willing knew that this was classified information, I think action should be taken something of this magnitude. I know the issue of leaks, I think something on this magnitude, there is an obligation both legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something, which would so severely compromise national security,” King told Cooper. “As a practical matter, I guess there have been in the past several years, a number of reporters who have been prosecuted. So the answer is yes to your question.”


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