One thought on “NSA Throws Hissy Fit, Just Prevents Passage of Amash Amendment”

  1. Text of Newton Patch interview with Rep. Kennedy (D-MA) explaining why he was the only Massachusetts representative to vote against the Amash amendment:

    Why were you the only Congressman from Massachusetts to vote against the Amash Amendment that would have limited NSA spying to actual suspects?

    12:09 Rep. Joe Kennedy: Thanks so much for bringing this up. I know that it’s on a lot of people’s minds, and I appreciate the opportunity to explain a difficult vote.
    12:11 Rep. Joe Kennedy: First of all, I absolutely understand your concerns, and I share them. The recent revelations about the NSA’s phone records program raise serious questions about the scope of our intelligence operations. There is no doubt these programs need better oversight, transparency and accountability, and I hope to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address those issues.

    12:12 Patch: As a follow-up: What is it about this particular amendment that you found lacking?

    12:12 Rep. Joe Kennedy: However, I believe these reforms must be pursued deliberately and thoughtfully. We have started a robust public discussion which absolutely should continue here in Congress. But spending just 15 minutes of debate on a six line amdendment that cuts funding for a program that intelligence officials say has stopped dozens of potential terrorist attacks on U.S. soil seems premature – even dangerous
    12:13 Rep. Joe Kennedy: Right now, I’m urging the Administration and intelligence officials to release as much information as possible on these programs, so that the American people can make an informed decision about the balance their government must strike between privacy and security. Every American deserves to have a say in this debate.
    12:14 Rep. Joe Kennedy: We’ve already been in touch with leadership about how to move forward in addressing the serious concerns I have about the continuation of this program.

    12:15 Patch: Thank you. Final question on this topic: What do you think are some viable options to address that tension between security and privacy?

    12:18 Rep. Joe Kennedy: First, people need to know more about the scope and impact of these programs. The administration is making some progress here, but I’ll keep pushing them for more.
    Second, there needs to be a serious review of the oversight and auditing procedures to ensure that Congress and other relevant officials get all the information they need to conduct adequate oversight.
    One option there is to give more authority to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. There’s already some discussions starting around how we could do that.

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