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Taking Short Break From Denouncing Trump Authoritarianism, House Dems Join With GOP To 'Violate The Privacy Rights Of Everyone In The United States'

Despite spending much of the last 12 months denouncing the legitimate threat posed by President Donald Trump's penchant for authoritarian policies and behavior, 65 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday joined with 191 Republicans in passing a bill that advocates of civil liberties warn will lead to the wholesale violation "of privacy rights for everyone in the United States."

While the final vote on the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 (or S.139) - which included renewal of the controversial Section 702 which allows government agencies to spy on the e-mails, text messages, and other electronic communications of Americans and foreigners without a warrant - was 256 to 164 in favor of passage, the partisan breakdown revealed that Republicans in the majority needed a great deal of Democratic support in order to have it pass. (Forty-five Republicans voted against the bill.)

"The House voted today to give President Trump and his administration more spying powers," said Neema Singh Guliani, policy counsel with the ACLU, in a statement following the vote. "The government will use this bill to continue warrantless intrusions into Americans' private e-mails, text messages, and other communications."

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And while "no president should have this power," Guliani stated, "members of Congress just voted to hand it to an administration that has labeled individuals as threats based merely on their religion, nationality, or viewpoints."

Though Democrats have a long history - including under the previous administration of President Barack Obama - of backing mass surveillance and submitting to the demands of U.S. intelligence agencies, critics point out the hard-to-ignore hypocrisy of those who have endlessly warned against Trump's authoritarian tendencies with one hand, while supporting these repressive and anti-democratic surveillance powers with the other. As Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, argued in a tweet:

Members of the Democratic Party, Timm elaborated in his NBC News Op-Ed,

have been all over the airwaves recently accusing Donald Trump of abusing the Justice Department to go after his political enemies - most notably his former opponent Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, which the Department of Justice is reportedly currently investigating based on allegation made during the 2016 presidential campaign. So you'd think they would oppose handing Donald Trump any more power with which he could potentially use against all sorts of Americans who attract negative attention from his administration.

Yet, with the help of some Democrats, the House of Representatives voted today - and the Senate will do so sometime in the next week - to extend a controversial NSA surveillance power that potentially affects millions of Americans' privacy rights.

FAIR's Adam Johnson made a similar argument in a series of tweets:

Sandra Fulton, government relations manage for the Free Press Action Fund, said "the last thing Congress should be doing" is renewing a law that allows U.S. intelligence agencies "to continue spying on the communications of people in the United States, forfeiting the essential privacy rights" of every person in the United States.

"No government entity should have such oppressive surveillance powers," Fulton said. "This unconstitutional legislation will allow the FBI to continue sifting through the data even when those searches don't involve a specific criminal investigation."

In an e-mail sent to the Intercept's Alex Emmons following the vote, Daniel Schuman, policy director for the progressive group Demand Progress, criticized the party's failure to oppose the bill and bemoaned that a "swing of just 26 Democrats would have defeated the measure."

While Timm expressed gratitude to House Democrats who fought to add critical privacy protections to the bill, an amendment offered by Rep. Justin Amash which was supported by many progressives was defeated:

Meanwhile, Democrats like Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who has aggressively opposed Trump on other fronts, were specifically called out for voting in favor of reauthorization of Section 702:

Glenn Greenwald, who consistently slammed the provisions of Section 702 and expansive NSA spying powers under Obama, said that its outrageous how Democrats who oppose Trump at nearly every turn would so blithely vote to reauthorize these powers given their repeated and stated concerns about the president.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

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Previously:
* Yahoo E-Mail Scan Shows U.S. Spy Push To Recast Constitutional Privacy.

* Snowden: 'Journalists Are A Threatened Class' In Era Of Mass Surveillance.

* AT&T Spying On Americans For Profit.

* ACLU Demands Secret U.S. Court Reveal Secret U.S. Laws.

* Obama's New Era Of Secret Law.

* EFF To Court: Government Must Inform People That It's Accessing Their E-Mails, Personal Data.

* A Plea To Citizens, Websites: Fight The Expansion Of Government Powers To Break Into Users' Computers.

* NSA Today: Archives Of Spy Agency's Internal Newsletter Culled From Snowden Documents.

* U.S. Surveillance Court A Bigger Rubber Stamp Than Chicago City Council.

* Obama Won't Tell Congress How Many Innocent Americans He's Spying On.

* Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional.

* EFF Sues For Secret Court Orders Requiring Tech Companies To Decrypt Users' Communications.

* Trying (And Trying) To Get Records From The 'Most Transparent Administration' Ever.

* EFF Urges Appeals Court To Allow Wikimedia And Others To Fight NSA Surveillance.

* U.S. Government Reveals Breadth Of Requests For Internet Records.

* What's The Evidence That Mass Surveillance Works? Not Much.

* Why The Close Collaboration Between The NSA And AT&T Matters.

* First Library To Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS E-Mail.

* EFF Sues For Records About 'Hemisphere' Phone Call Collection And Drug Enforcement Program.

* Snowden Documentarian Laura Poitras Sues U.S. Government To Uncover Records After Years Of Airport Detentions And Searches.

* Obama Secretly Expanded NSA Spying To Internet.

* Court: NSA Phone Program Illegal.

* The Chicago Connection To The Hidden Intelligence Breakdowns Behind The Mumbai Attacks.

* Human Rights Watch Sues DEA Over Bulk Collection Of American's Telephone Records.

* U.S. Secretly Tracked Billions Of Calls For Decades.

* Amnesty International Joins ACLU, Wikimedia In Lawsuit To Stop Mass Surveillance Program.

* Stop Spying On Wikipedia Users.

* EFF Wins Battle Over Secret Legal Opinions On Government Spying.

* The NSA's "U.S. Corporate Partners."

* I Fight Surveillance.

* Illegal Spying Below.

* Smith vs. Obama.

* EFF Sues NSA Over FOIA.

* Stand Against Spying.

* The NSA Revelations All In One Chart.

* U.S. Supreme Court Limits Cell Phone Searches.

* EFF To Court: There's No Doubt The Government Destroyed NSA Spying Evidence.

* House Committee Puts NSA On Notice Over Encryption Standards.

* Which Tech Companies Help Protect You From Government Data Demands?

* Lawsuit Demands DOJ Release More Secret Surveillance Court Rulings.

* Human Rights Organizations To Foreign Ministers: Stop Spying On Us.

* What The Proposed NSA Reforms Wouldn't Do.

* Technologists Turn On Obama.

* Dear Supreme Court: Set Limits On Cell Phone Searches.

* EFF Fights National Security Letter Demands On Behalf Of Telecom, Internet Company.

* Eighth-Grader Schools The NSA.

* You Know Who Else Collected Metadata? The Stasi.

* Today We Fight Back.

* The Day We Fight Back.

* FAQ: The NSA's Angry Birds.

* Jon Stewart: The Old Hope-A-Dope.

* Four Blatantly False Claims Obama Has Made About NSA Surveillance.

* EFF To DOJ In Lawsuit: Stop Pretending Information Revealed About NSA Over Last Seven Months Is Still A Secret.

* Judge On NSA Case Cites 9/11 Report, But It Doesn't Actually Support His Ruling.

* Edward Snowden's Christmas Message.

* Jon Stewart: Obama Totally Lying About NSA Spying.

* Presidential Panel To NSA: Stop Undermining Encryption.

* The NSA Is Coming To Town.

* 60 Minutes We Can't Get Back.

* Why Care About The NSA?

* NSA Surveillance Drives Writers To Self-Censor.

* Filed: 22 Firsthand Accounts Of How NSA Surveillance Chilled The Right To Association.

* Claim On 'Attacks Thwarted' By NSA Spreads Despite Lack Of Evidence.

* Obama Vs. The World.

* How A Telecom Helped The Government Spy On Me.

* UN Member States Asked To End Unchecked Surveillance.

* Government Standards Agency: Don't Follow Our Encryption Guidelines Because NSA.

* Five More Organizations Join Lawsuit Against NSA.

* A Scandal Of Historic Proportions.

* Item: NSA Briefing.

* The Case Of The Missing NSA Blog Post.

* The NSA Is Out Of Control.

* Patriot Act Author Joins Lawsuit Against NSA.

* Obama's Promises Disappear From Web.

* Why NSA Snooping Is A Bigger Deal In Germany.

* Item: Today's NSA Briefing.

* NSA Briefing: It Just Got Worse (Again).

* Song of the Moment: Party at the NSA.

* It Not Only Can Happen Here, It Is Happening Here.

* What NSA Transparency Looks Like.

* America's Lying About Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Obama Continues To Lie His Ass Off About The NSA.

* The Surveillance Reforms Obama Supported Before He Was President.

* America's Spying: Worse Than You Think.

* Has The U.S. Government Lied About Its Snooping? Let's Go To The Videotape.

* Who Are We At War With? That's Classified.

* Six Ways Congress May Reform NSA Snooping.

* NSA Says It Can't Search Its Own E-Mails.

* Does The NSA Tap That?

* Obama Explains The Difference Between His Spying And Bush's Spying.

* FAQ: What You Need To Know About The NSA's Surveillance Programs.

* NSA: Responding To This FOIA Would Help "Our Adversaries".

* Fact-Check: The NSA And 9/11.

* The NSA's Black Hole: 5 Things We Still Don't Know About The Agency's Snooping.

* Defenders Of NSA Surveillance Citing Chicago Case Omit Most Of Mumbai Plotter's Story.

* Obama's War On Truth And Transparency.

* ProPublica's Guide To The Best Stories On The Growing Surveillance State.

* The Fight To Rein In NSA Surveillance.

* Yahoo E-Mail Scan Shows U.S. Spy Push To Recast Constitutional Privacy.

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on January 11, 2018


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