Wednesday, October 23, 2013

US Sen. Feinstein’s Proposed Bill Would Incriminate Anyone Speaking Against NSA’s Spying and Courts

by Ali Papademetriou

California lawmaker and member of the United States Senate committee, Diane Feinstein has let it be known that she strongly supports the National Security Agency and its surveillance programs. The agency has caught much heat from the American people after whistleblower Edward Snowden leaked documents showing that the NSA spies on millions of citizens through their phone data.
Last weekend, she published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, claiming that the 9/11 attacks could have been prevented had the NSA surveillance programs been alive beforehand. “We would have detected the impending attack that killed 3,000 Americans,” she wrote.
Then on Monday, she stated that the NSA’s bulk compilation of phone records is actually “not surveillance” and is rather just a necessary device by means of fighting terrorism. Her statement was made in an op-ed, which was published by USA Today.
She also asserted that the agency’s actions have been “effective in helping to prevent terrorist plots against the US and our allies.”
Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, both of whom are also members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote a letter to NSA director Keith Alexander, criticizing him by detailing, “Saying that ‘these programs’ have ‘disrupted dozens of potential terrorist plots’ is misleading if the bulk phone records collection program is actually providing little or no value.” They also detailed how the NSA has only stopped a few pieces of terror plots over the years – contradictory to Senator Feinstein’s assertions.
It was also reported by the Guardian that Senator Feinstein is anticipating introducing legislation, which would criminally punish those who make critical statements about the NSA and its secret courts.
Feinstein’s bill comes just in time in the agency’s favor, considering both the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) have active lawsuits against the NSA for its unconstitutional surveillance of US citizens.
Update 6:06PM: Guardian hyperlink fixed to Feinstein’s upcoming introduction of new bill.
Image Reference: AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez

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