recommended reading

Amendment to Block NSA Data-Collection Loses by Thin Margin in House

multitel/Shutterstock.com

The House on Wednesday night narrowly defeated a contentious amendment to the Pentagon spending bill to stop the National Security Agency from collecting phone and email information on persons not under investigation for terrorist plots.

The 205-217 vote blurred party lines, creating unusual coalitions and tensions. Sponsored by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., a conservative libertarian, the amendment gained the backing of liberal Democrats also opposed to such a sweeping a collection of records as revealed last month by Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor who leaked details about the surveillance programs to the press.

But the amendment was opposed by Amash's own party leaders. The White House also argued the measure represented a hasty attempt to undo counterterrorism tools under the Patriot Act. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, and NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander argued against the measure.

"Too far, too fast on the wrong legislative vehicle," argued Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., on the House floor before the vote, suggesting an annual appropriations bill is not the right way to address these privacy concerns.

Ruppersberger is ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He was joined in his opposition by Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who said he'll work to consider additional privacy protections this fall, but warned that passing the amendment "takes us back to 2001."

Amash, defending his amendment on the floor, said the arguments against it were based on "fear." Citing historical precedents, he said, "They'll tell you the government must violate the rights of the American people from those who hate our freedoms," he said.

The vote tally showed Amash was joined by 93 of his fellow Republicans and 111 Democrats in support of his amendment, while 134 Republicans and 83 Democrats teamed to defeat it.

The House later passed its overall defense spending bill for fiscal 2014—a $512 billion measure—by a 315-109 vote. 

This article appears in the July 25, 2013, edition of National Journal Daily.

(Image via multitel/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.