News / USA

US House Rejects Attempt to Halt NSA Surveillance Program

A supporter holds a picture of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top secret information about U.S. surveillance programs, outside the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong Thursday, June 13, 2013.
A supporter holds a picture of Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee who leaked top secret information about U.S. surveillance programs, outside the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong Thursday, June 13, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Cindy Saine
— The U.S. House of Representatives has narrowly defeated an amendment that would have ended a National Security Agency surveillance program that collects hundreds of millions of Americans' phone records. 

The vote turned into a clash between President Barack Obama and Democratic and Republican national security leaders in Congress on one side, who say the program is vital to fighting terrorism, and a coalition of libertarian Republican and liberal Democratic lawmakers on the other side, who say it violates basic civil liberties.

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., shown on his way to vote on amendment to end NSA program, July 24, 2013.Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., shown on his way to vote on amendment to end NSA program, July 24, 2013.
x
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., shown on his way to vote on amendment to end NSA program, July 24, 2013.
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., shown on his way to vote on amendment to end NSA program, July 24, 2013.
Republican Representative Justin Amash of Michigan was the chief sponsor of the amendment that would have limited the NSA’s ability to collect phone records and other metadata under the Patriot Act to cases where the agency has first identified an individual who is the target of an investigation.   Amash challenged his fellow lawmakers.

“We are here to answer one question for the people we represent:  do we oppose the suspicion-less collection of every American’s phone records?”

The amendment was one of 100 attached to a $598 billion defense spending bill for 2014, and one that provoked some of the most passionate debate on the floor of the House on striking the right balance between national security and privacy concerns.

The vote was 205 in favor of the amendment and 217 against.

Republican House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers strongly defended the NSA phone records program, saying that to kill it would be to take the United States back to the time before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks when the intelligence community lacked vital data.  He said the NSA programs have helped foil attacks 54 times.

“Fifty-four times this and the other program stopped and thwarted terrorist attacks both here and in Europe, saving real lives," Rogers said. "This is not a game.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney had issued a statement saying President Obama opposes the effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of the intelligence community’s counterterrorism tools. Carney said the president is still open to addressing privacy concerns awakened by leaks of former contractor Edward Snowden last month, but that this was not the right approach. The Snowden leaks have caused concern in the U.S. and outrage abroad about the extent of the NSA’s surveillance of U.S. citizens and of phone and email records of citizens abroad.

Even if the amendment had passed in the House, it would likely have failed in the Senate, and would have been vetoed by Obama.  But some lawmakers say the close vote and emotional debate is an indication that Congress is likely to investigate the scope and magnitude of NSA surveillance in the months to come.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
July 28, 2013 8:22 AM
Thank you so much Bradley Edward Manning and Edward Joseph Snowden for bringing to the forefront the subjects of personal freedom, individual rights to privacy and individual liberties. I am one who also believes we live in a nation under a constitution that allows people to express their opinions and feelings without the fear of retribution or of becoming a political prisoner. My concern is whether or not a citywide video surveillance camera system exits in the Salt Lake Valley and possibly in the entire state of Utah - the worldwide Headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS/Mormons). The abundance of camera like hardware mounted on the traffic light posts throughout the valley should be of concern to anyone who resides in or visits the predominately Mormon state. The hardware is mounted at the intersections of some major (900 East 5800 South) and not so major intersections (700 East 6600-7200 South). A good sampling of this hardware can be found throughout the valley but especially in the Murray, Fort Union/Midvale, Sandy, and Cottonwood Heights areas (4500 South to 12300 South and State Street, 900 East, 1300 East, etc.). The setup of this hardware – if it is a camera surveillance system could easily track the whereabouts of a person traveling throughout the valley on a daily basis. The origins of such a system may have begun shortly after 911 when KSL News Anchor (Nadine Wimmer?) announced the KSL Traffic Center retired its Chopper 5 traffic watch helicopter for a ground traffic monitoring camera system. KSL TV/Radio located in Salt Lake City, Utah is owned by Bonneville International, a worldwide LDS/Mormon church communications company. The American public deserves to receive some explanation from the KSL Traffic Center, the Utah Department of Transportation, and the leaders of the LDS church as to the existence, operation, extent, and sophistication of the ground monitoring system and if the system incorporates facial recognition of drivers, GPS tracking of cars, license plate/object recognition, why such a system exits, and why the cameras of a private entity are mounted on public property. The LDS/Mormon church headquarters who has been keeping personal computer records of its millions of church members since as early as the 60-70s is no newcomer to the science of high technology. I welcome anyone who is familiar with the technologies mentioned in this post to visit the Salt Lake Valley and to see for yourself if the Mormon Brotherhood is out of control and is watching you.


by: JimHarwood1956 from: Norman, Oklahoma
July 25, 2013 5:05 PM
Edward Snowden didn't reveal anything new. He only reminded us it is still being done. How quickly we forget! History repeats itself! CBS News 60 Minutes Steve Kroft broke the story on Sunday 27 February 2000 when he interviewed former NSA spy Mike Frost - who revealed significantly more than Edward Snowden has! Then The History Channel did a special on it! What a short attention span we Americans have and quickly forget issues like that which do not appear to have direct impact on our day-to-day living of normal lives, until it is too late to stop it.

Find the CBS News article about it by searching for "CBS News Ex-Snoop Confirms Echelon Network" [with quote marks].

Watch The History Channel's 5 short videos about it by searching YouTube for "Echelon Spy Satelites Part 1" [with quote marks, and yes satellites is spelled wrong there as satelites] There are 5 parts - just replace the number to find the next one.

PRISM is the new version of Echelon.

Now look up "Utah Data Center" of NSA at Wikipedia. The multi-billion-dollars complex will go online by end of August, if not sooner, including a computer with a level of "artificial intelligence" never seen before. Imagine "Skynet" of the Terminator movies on steroids. Horror is what you will feel when you see it. Terror is what you will feel when you realize it has seen you.

Privacy is security. When they take away our privacy, they take away our security. It is not necessary to sacrifice one to have or improve the other. It's just an excuse to do so.


by: everydayJohn from: Torrance, CA
July 25, 2013 1:07 AM
When will the gutless 217 Members of the House of Rep that voted against this admendment be named so that the Public can vote against any of their re-election to public office. Please name these gutless 217 memberss!

In Response

by: Kennon from: Califorinia
July 25, 2013 10:10 AM
Here you go: http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2013/roll412.xml

In Response

by: Tim from: New Hampshire
July 25, 2013 10:02 AM
I came across this article while trying to find out whether my rep. voted for or against the loss of America's freedom. Anyone know where I can find out?

In Response

by: tisme from: Michigan
July 25, 2013 8:57 AM
I am trying to find the 217 that want us to be ruled by Big Brother.

In Response

by: Anonymous
July 25, 2013 8:36 AM
Stand up America!! What the **** are we doing just standing by the wayside?? We are giving up our right to privacy without a fight!?


by: GH1618 from: USA
July 25, 2013 12:08 AM
Good sense prevailed.

In Response

by: Winslow Wilson
July 29, 2013 12:12 AM
You have no idea of what you are talking about. This is the worst thing that could have happened at this time. I'm asking people to get the list of the 217 Representatives and contact people in their state to organize a way to vote them out of office next year.

It can be done. Tell them to get 5 good friends who will commit to that vote and ask each of those 5 if they will commit to contacting 5 of their good friends who will do the same and so on and so on. If this is done 10 times down the line, that's nearly 50 million voters. One more time is the clincher and
these fools would go down in flames at the polls.

This would be a most the most powerful message the people could send. The Senators who are for this NSA insanity should be taken down next. It could all go away quickly.

If any of the Representatives were not from your state, Commit to sending out 5 letters anyway. But get the list and include it in your letter so everyone will know.


by: Anonymous
July 24, 2013 10:36 PM
Democracy at work....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid