This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.


  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

An activist from the Internet Party of Ukraine participates during a rally supporting Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA), in front of U.S. embassy, in Kiev June 27, 2013. Former U.S. spy agency contractor Snowden was believed to still be at a Moscow airport on Thursday and officials said he had not booked a flight out despite pressure from Russian President Vladimir Putin to leave. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich &nbsp;(UKRAINE - Tags: CIVIL UNREST) - RTX112TB
On Thursday, the House very narrowly defeated the amendment by Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and John Conyers (D-MI) to scale back the NSA's surveillance power to the letter of the Patriot Act law. The final vote was 205-217. The amendment was shepherded to the floor by leadership, reportedly, because of a groundswell of Republican lawmakers who demanded the vote. Ninety-four Republicans supported the amendment, along with 111 Democrats.

Among those Republicans was Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who was a primary author of the Patriot Act who said that the NSA's dragnet surveillance—allowed by the secret interpretation of Section 215 by the FISA court—goes far beyond the intent of his law, and that his bill was never intended to allow for the mass collection of data from every American. "The time has come to stop it," he said in floor debate.

The vote came the same day that co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Keen and Lee Hamilton argued in an op-ed in Politico that "It's time to debate the NSA program."

When the Congress and the courts work in secret; when massive amounts of data are collected from Americans and enterprises; when government’s power of intrusion into the lives of ordinary citizens, augmented by the awesome power of advanced technologies, is hugely expanded without public debate or discussion over seven years, then our sense of constitutional process and accountability is deeply offended.

Officials insist that the right balance has been struck between security and privacy. But how would we know, when all the decisions have been made in secret, with almost no oversight? [...]

President Barack Obama has rightly called for a national discussion, which his administration and Congress should convene. It is unfortunate that this conversation begins only when an unauthorized leaker divulges secrets he has agreed, under penalty of law, to keep. But the issues are now before the public. It is time to trust the American people’s judgment about where to strike the balance between what is, after all, their security and their freedom.

The vote also came on a day when new polling from NBC News/Wall Street Journal showed that a strong majority of voters—56 percent—say that "they're more worried the United States will go too far in violating privacy rights" than that the U.S. "wouldn't go far enough to pursue potential terrorists." The shift in public opinion is seen in the shift among members of Congress.

The vote in the House Thursday should be considered the opening of the debate President Obama has said he would welcome. Indeed, an open, public debate might be the thing that's needed to maintain this program. Sensenbrenner has warned that the program won't be renewed in 2015 without changes. The administration might want to bet that he'll forget that threat by the time the Patriot Act is up for renewal, but this vote suggests that would be a false hope.

Sign our petition urging Congress to declassify the FISA Court’s rulings.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jul 25, 2013 at 10:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.