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State of the Union on CNN 3-30-14
Feinstein relaxes, slightly, on NSA reform.
On CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said she was open to the proposal announced last week by President Obama to end the National Security Administration's collection of bulk phone data.

Under the president's still unveiled proposal, instead of having NSA in possession of these records, they would be left with the telecommunications companies who would only have to keep them for the standard amount of time they do now, 18 months. The NSA keeps such records for five years. Obtaining access to the records would require a subpoena from a judge.

Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said getting the proposal through Congress would be difficult, and she wants to see the wording of the president's proposal before supporting the proposal herself:

The senator said that she believed the end of government metadata collection, judicial review and new limits on how long records were held and how extensively they could be searched were all good suggestions. But, she said, she wanted to see precise language from the administration on how they would change the program.

“The president has said he would send us a bill, and I hold him to this word, because it’s very important that we receive bill language as to exactly what the administration intends,” Feinstein said.

As my colleague Joan McCarter pointed out last week, what Obama has proposed has some good points:
This is an improvement, but is not without problems. The proposal would still allow the government to obtain "related records for callers up to two phone calls, or 'hops,' removed from the number that has come under suspicion." Those requests could come from multiple providers, if the related calls weren't made with the same provider as the initial caller. That means, as Marcy Wheeler points out, "ten or hundred of thousands of innocent people" will still be subject to the "full array of NSA's tradecraft."
There's already a good reform measure introduced by Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, called USA FREEDOM Act. The bill would end the bulk collection of Americans' records, put limits on Patriot Act provisions directed at Americans, require a court order before using information about Americans gathered during foreign intelligence operations, require communications providers to disclose the number of surveillance orders they receive, require the government to disclose how many people are subject to surveillance orders, make public the opinions from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court since July 2003 and establish a public advocate to advise FISC.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 01:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not buying it. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    markthshark, Shockwave, stevemb

    DiFi's moves are always "right" even when you think they are left.  Need real detailed analysis (empty wheel).

    "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

    by Publius2008 on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 01:20:08 PM PDT

    •  Marcy does an excellent job in such matters... (6+ / 0-)

      ...She has not weighed in directly on Feinstein's repositioning herself, but she has spoken about elements of what is being proposed by Obama (sans specific language) and supported (sort of) by Feinstein. Her view about proposed changes: Better than now, but not as good as they should be.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 01:52:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We're never going to get the proposed changes (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Even if they make it through Senate largely intact (an unlikely proposition), the House sausage factory will then get to work.  I'm not sure, accordingly, how much credit to give to the proposed changes.

        Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

        by RFK Lives on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 02:28:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In other words a "compromise" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The question that I have is who is on the other side of the compromise. And what is the final destination?

        Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

        by Shockwave on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 04:49:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Isn't there expression, that goes (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, Simplify, snoopydawg, varro, stevemb

    I was for it before I was against it, or something like that?  DiFi, is a class A hypocrite and an entitled elitist  She was all for .gov spying upon ordinary surfs and peons, until it was her ass that was being spied upon.

    Sensenbrenner's act sounds a lot more sensible to me.  Any and all spying on American citizens should require a court issued warrant based upon probable cause.  Not some closed, secret Kangaroo court run by the intelligence machine.

    "It's not surveillance, it's data collection to keep you safe"

    by blackhand on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 01:28:36 PM PDT

    •  This isn't optional (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rikon Snow, blackhand
      U.S. Constitution - Amendment 4

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      It's just so blindingly clear. And yes, metadata and 3rd-party data is "papers and effects," and making an electronic copy is "seizure."

      No dragnet "bulk collection." No hops.

      And if the government wants to do any of that, they can try to get a constitutional amendment to legitimize it. Go ahead, try.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 04:50:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The USA Freedom Act is the ONLY acceptable... (4+ / 0-)

    starting point in ANY reform effort by Congress -- with the usual spate of amendments considered before passage, which I hope would in turn enhance the actual FREEDOM aspect of the bill.

    Hey, I'm a dreamer.

    "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." - 17th-century French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu.

    by markthshark on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 01:36:17 PM PDT

  •  Oh, baby steps MB. We should give credit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades, DeadHead

    where it's due. At this pace, DiFi will be a full-fledged advocate of the 4th Amendment in 25 years or so. She'll be going strong at 105.

    When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill...

    by PhilJD on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 02:02:28 PM PDT

  •  As if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Deep State will pay any attention to anything the U.S. Senate says. . . . Heh heh heh.  

    Think about the baby Jesus. Up in that tower, letting His hair down so that the three wise men could climb up and spin the dreddle and see if there's six more weeks of winter. -- Will and Grace

    by Rikon Snow on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 04:36:57 PM PDT

  •  Oh, you're still watching this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rikon Snow

    Okay, here's a harmless bit of public pontificating that doesn't mean much of anything. Let us know when all you beady-eyed constitutional scholars get tired of watching us* so we can go back to the status quo without doing a goddam thing.

    *Just so you all know, we'll get tired of defending our rights sometime along about never. If that's a good time for you, just pencil us in as always watching you sneaky sadistic little creeps.

  •  It wasn't until her own staff got spied on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koNko, Rikon Snow

    that she went ballistic.


    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

    by Bob Love on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 04:48:12 PM PDT

  •  I also want to see the precise language (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rikon Snow

    Although something tells me I'm looking for something more than Feinstein.

    No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

    by koNko on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 04:51:22 PM PDT

  •  Being careful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Obtaining access to the records would require a subpoena from a judge.
    It's not a subpoena that would be needed for the government to obtain access. It's an order.
    absent an emergency situation, the government would obtain the records only pursuant to individual orders from the FISC approving the use of specific numbers for such queries, if a judge agrees based on national security concerns;

    FACT SHEET: The Administration’s Proposal for Ending the Section 215 Bulk Telephony Metadata Program

    Individual orders are required. But I think the ability of a judge to deny a request is pretty much non-existent. It would be of the style, that if the request technically conforms to the program, the request must be approved.
  •  Oh, yawn, another stage show. Reruns, reruns, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rikon Snow

    all we get are reruns.

    If you don't have a seat at the table, you're probably on the menu.

    by CarolinNJ on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 04:54:11 PM PDT

  •  I'll be more inclined to believe... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snoopydawg, Boogalord

    Senator Feinstein has truly "seen the light" when she signs on to the USA FREEDOM Act.

    Bonus points if she's the one who barges into the Oval Office and slams a copy of it on the President's desk and says:

    At which point, the Bicameral, Bipartisan NSA Caucus can then find a way to scuttle it, blaming someone other than any of themselves, personally, for its demise, but reminding all us whiners that the real reason is because of scary terrorists.

    And we'll be right back where we started — here, hoping for some toothless reform, because at least it's better than nothing.

    So until such time as Senator Feinstein actually leads on this matter, everything else that comes out of her mouth is just lip service, as far as I'm concerned.

    Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. ~ Garcia

    by DeadHead on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 05:16:57 PM PDT

  •  What do you mean here? (0+ / 0-)
    Under the president's still unveiled proposal, instead of having NSA in possession of these records, they would be left with the telecommunications companies who would only have to keep them for the standard amount of time they do now, 18 months.
    Is that a typo?  Has the president's proposal been 'unveiled' or hasn't it?  Do you mean still 'veiled' or not yet 'unveiled'?  

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