back to article US senators vow to filibuster FBI, er, NSA's domestic, errr, foreign mass spying program

A number of US senators from both sides of the aisle have said they will filibuster an effort to approve the continuation of a controversial American government spying program. This mass snooping effort was authorized by section 702 of the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Amendments Act, which expired at the end of …

  1. veti Silver badge

    Once more

    You're going to keep posting this story, and I'm going to keep correcting it.

    There is no such thing, in law, as "warrantless spying on citizens". That's because "citizens" cannot be defined as a "protected class". The 14th amendment explicitly forbids that.

    If you want to outlaw warrantless spying, then great. But if you allow for it to happen at all, then it can happen to anyone, regardless of citizenship. The only thing that matters is where you are, not who.

  2. Someone Else Silver badge
    Big Brother


    Yeah, we've heard of it.

    However, in an effort to get the law reauthorized for another six years, the Senate Yertle the Turtle McConnell has refused to allow open debate on the matter, or debate a number of alternate bills put forward by concerned lawmakers

    There, FTFY

  3. Christoph

    "This program has gathered information on innocent Americans and is ripe for future abuse," warned Daines. "We must do our due diligence."

    "This program has been turned into a backdoor," complained Warren. "We need reforms for better protections for Americans' privacy."

    "Section 702 as it is written allows the government to spy on us," noted Leahy. "We have a right to privacy."

    And tough luck on innocent foreigners who have no protection for their privacy and no right to privacy.

    If the Yanks don't like it up 'em then don't do it to everyone else.

  4. Old Used Programmer

    There is a way...

    If, and I'll grant they are very big "ifs", Shumer can hold his caucus together against it and the two Republicans state in no uncertain terms that they'll vote against the bill as it stands, then there might be a proper debate because the bill will fail under those conditions.

  5. Mike Moyle Silver badge

    " 'I'm surprised we're not being allowed an amendment,' said Paul, adding that he objects 'to not being allowed to vote on our reforms.' "

    Suddenly Rand Paul is shocked (Shocked, I tell you!) that his party's leadership wants to rush through a bill that screws people over, with no debate or amendment...? Has he not been paying attention? That's been McConnell's M.O. from day one!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      And strange that the democrats that are shocked by extending it didn't manage to get it cancelled in the 8 years they ran the place

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        And strange that the democrats


        These numbers speak volumes.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge
      Big Brother

      @ Mike Moyle --

      Suddenly Rand Paul is shocked (Shocked, I tell you!) that his party's leadership wants to rush through a bill that screws people over, with no debate or amendment...? Has he not been paying attention? That's been McConnell's M.O. from day one!

      And to which Paul has been particularly complicit.

      Hypocrisy, that name is Republican.

  6. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge


    First off, good on them and I hope they get more senators to join their filibuster. I find it unbelievable that any politician can actively support unconstitutional spying programs like this and stay in office.

    That said -- really, out of that list, at least Patrick Leahy and Rand Paul are really libertarians, they ran as republican and democrat to get into office (successfully, they've both been there for years.) The US has a broken political system, with a near-one-party system. Since these parties combine people that should (in a working political system) be members of probably half a dozen parties, you can or course find some reps and dems with polar opposite political views, and you will find "far left" and "far right" individuals in them. But you look at party line, both parties to avoid "alienating their base" have nearly the same political platform really -- by British standards, the reps are center-right but very near center, the dems are center-left but very near center.

    Of course, both blame the other party for all problems. For example, both parties lie and claim they want to fix the federal budget problems, which are entirely the other parties fault. But, in fact both parties actually for increased gov't spending and tax cuts.

    I have no idea why both parties have whole handedly decided they should ignore the Constitution and civil rights. But, that's the rub -- I can care about my rights as much as I want, without any 3rd parties it's highly likely as elections come up the choice I have will be two people who don't give a damn about rights.

    The big two issues causing this -- polls, and debates.

    Polls -- personally I've been polled twice -- the first time, the pollster asked which candidate I was voting for, then named the democrat or republican, and they hung up when I said I was voting 3rd party. The second gave a choice of "press 1" for some republican, "press 2" for some democrat, "press 9" for someone else. When I hit 9 it said the choice was invalid and hung up. It's kind of a vicious cycle when the media uses polls that usually don't even had 3rd parties as a choice, they therefore don't mention or include 3rd parties, so it won't even occur to most of the public to look into them then.

    Debates -- just 1 example, there was a big row during a few of the early presidential debates this last time around, because they excluded some 3rd party candidates due to low poll figures, but had probably half a dozen main-party candidates for each main party, several of which had actually polled lower than the excluded 3rd party candidates.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Good

      It does seem a lot of effort just to pick which Goldman Sachs partner gets to pull the strings - couldn't it just be an internal HR decision?

      The obvious solution would be to abandon the current socialist communal voting system and just put the Presidency out to tender

    2. DocJames
      IT Angle

      Re: Good

      Mostly I liked your post, but have to pull you up on this:

      by British standards, the reps are center-right but very near center, the dems are center-left but very near center.

      I think you mean by British standards the Democrats are hard right, and the Republicans are a little to the right of that. I appreciate the difficulties of using a single axis to describe politics etc, but as long as we're doing that I think we should be clear that compared to other democracies the US is pretty right wing.

      1. post-truth

        Re: Good

        Indeed. This "Democracy in America" discussion recalls two comic events to mind.

        The first is from 1964 when, on-stage in New York, Peter Cook(or perhaps Alan Bennett?) was carefully explaining to Dudley Moore, deadpan, the differences between the two political systems:

        "On the one hand they have the Republican Party... which is the equivalent of our Conservative Party. On the other, they have the Democratic Party... which is the equivalent of our Conservative Party".

        The second is from when Mahatma Gandhi, that notorious Inner Temple barrister, was asked his opinion of Western civilization. He purportedly answered: "I think it's a very good idea."

        [Caution: I have neither attribution to hand, so my memory may well be at fault]

        So America is a shining light on the hill. Or is it a will 'o the wisp? Or a siren calling to drag us to our doom and feast on our remains?

        (post-2015 events may be seen as a logical outcome, a mere historical footnote. Many other Western systems are no better equipped to to deal with web-based demagogy cloaked in the same democratic principles adopted, ironically less plausibly, by parliamentary systems centuries ago)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OK, how about this?

    We'll look but we won't tell your Mom!

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "enough lawmakers will vote..without reforms because of..importance of the..program."

    Who decided how important the program is?

    Why that would the NSA of course.

    No doubt when the relevant Committee Chair asked "How important is this to US safety" and NSA head replied "Very. It's saved a huuuge number of lives. We can't say how many because, y'know, security, but trust us, it's huuuuuge."

    No. I don't believer there has ever been an independent cost benefit analysis of how much it costs, how many plots (in detail) have been found and stopped, and how many American citizens have had their details recorded (forever) in this database to do so.

  9. Paul Smith

    Old age...

    Old age is a terrible thing. I can remember a place that was called "The home of the brave, and the land of the free". I just cant remember if it was real or a fantasy.

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