Town Square

Eshoo votes to defund NSA phone program

Original post made on Jul 25, 2013

U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Menlo Park, voted Wednesday in favor of an amendment to a defense spending bill that would require the National Security Agency to limit its information-gathering to subjects of national security investigations, rather than all Americans. The amendment failed by a close vote.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 5:52 PM


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Posted by Steve Taffee
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Jul 25, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Wow! When was the last time that a significant number of Republicans and Democrats agreed on anything? Unfortunately, they did not carry the day as a slightly larger number of did not support the amendment.

I agree with Eshoo's assessment that the Patriot Act has overreached its original authority and intent, and it's time to restore balance to constitutional liberties and curtail certain surveillance practices.

With such a close outcome there's hope that the House will revisit this in the future.

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Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jul 26, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I commend Eshoo and Speier on a sensible vote.

Pelosi performed disgracefully.

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Posted by Cass Apple
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Jul 29, 2013 at 6:11 pm

I respect Rep. Eshoo, although I believe she aired in supporting this bill.
Because of her prior experience on the House Intelligence Committee, I hoped she would have more fully recognized the enormous difficulties in attempting to identify and prevent the tiny activities which are individual terrorist attacks.
The NSA program was using one of our major strengths, the ability to find relationships among massive volumes of information. By imposing major time-consuming delays on collection and analysis, and also preventing its use in discovering unforeseen results, the advantage in this very long term struggle tips toward our disparate adversaries, particularly as they can gain advantages not just by successfully attacking but also by increasing the cost, delay and complexity of our responses.
I further hope that those opposed to this program will consider that the use of the information is restricted to intelligence activities. Further, those conducting these activities understand that their activities will be most effective if they prevent that barrier from ever being breached.

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Posted by El Norte
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Jul 30, 2013 at 9:41 am

"prevent the tiny activities which are individual terrorist attacks"

The 'lone wolf' attack, by its very nature, will not be hampered by massively intrusive searches violating the 4th amendment. AS an example, the Times Square bomber may have made many overseas calls, was already on a watch list, yet it was an alert street vendor who called NYPD.

"I further hope that those opposed to this program will consider that the use of the information is restricted to intelligence activities."

Allow me to correct your hope: "I further hope that those opposed to this program will consider that the use of the information is HOPEFULLY restricted to intelligence activities."

You have no way of knowing whether that kind of spying on Americans is restricted to what is claimed. We don't know if Obama spied on Romney, or if Bush spied on Kerry. Consider the stakes.

See the local threads on license plate readers and the police abuse of private data. Who watches the watchers? FISA? Ha!!

FISA is a rubber stamp with no adversarial process to protect Americans or the Constitution:

Web Link

"The Obama Administration says the FISA court adequately safeguards Americans' civil liberties. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, who holds the second-highest Democratic leadership position in the Senate, disagrees.

"These FISA courts—there should be a real court proceeding," he said on Sunday. "In this case, it's fixed in a way. It's loaded. There's only one case coming before the FISA court: the government's case. Let's have an advocate, or someone, standing up for civil liberties, to speak up for the privacy of Americans when they make each of these decisions, and let's release some of the transcripts, redacted, carefully redacted, so that people understand the debate that's going on in these FISA courts." When you've got a senior lawmaker calling a secret court "fixed in a way," implying that it doesn't conduct "real" proceedings, and affirming that its judges aren't hearing information that would be relevant to their decisions, that's alarming.

Unless, of course, what you want is a rubber stamp for the surveillance state."

Don't like it coming from a liberal? Shouldn't take long to find a similar quote from a libertarian. Rand (only senator to vote against the FBI Director)? You're up....

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Posted by gunste
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jul 30, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Now that Edward Snowden has alerted the Congress and the public to the excesses of the NSA, we need to thank him. Congress, which almost voted to cut some NSA programs should pass a resolution thanking Snowden and inviting him back home. No jury of his peers would convict him, only a collection of ideologues would do so. He provided a real service to the country, just like Daniel Ellsberg did after the Vietnam war.
The rush to indict him was ill advised and does not suit the current administration. Whistle blowers are sorely needed in the Federal and local government

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Posted by Lisa
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jul 30, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Yes! Fear and intimidation are becoming our norm and will get worse if no one objects, takes risks, realizing what's at stake. Called a form of checks and balances, of all types, we desperately need to not punish those who try to inform others who would not KNOW otherwise.
But the reaction came from bigger fish with large agendas.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle

on Jun 4, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?