Quantcast

White House, NSA oppose cut to data mining programs - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Congress to vote on amendment to defund NSA surveillance

Top NSA official Gen. Keith Alexander is urging Congress not to defund the spy agency's phone surveillance program. (Source: NSA.gov) Top NSA official Gen. Keith Alexander is urging Congress not to defund the spy agency's phone surveillance program. (Source: NSA.gov)
  • Government shutdown endNational politicsMore>>

  • EPA chief signs proposal limiting science used in decisions

    EPA chief signs proposal limiting science used in decisions

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 4:27 PM EDT2018-04-24 20:27:41 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 2:30 PM EDT2018-04-25 18:30:46 GMT
    (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File). FILE - In this April 3, 2018, file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks at a news conference at the EPA in Washington. New internal documents say a sweep for hidden listening devices i...(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File). FILE - In this April 3, 2018, file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks at a news conference at the EPA in Washington. New internal documents say a sweep for hidden listening devices i...
    Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has signed a proposed rule that would restrict the types of scientific studies regulators can use.More >>
    Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has signed a proposed rule that would restrict the types of scientific studies regulators can use.More >>
  • Michigan water activist, 6 others win environmental prize

    Michigan water activist, 6 others win environmental prize

    Monday, April 23 2018 12:25 AM EDT2018-04-23 04:25:23 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 2:30 PM EDT2018-04-25 18:30:28 GMT
    (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File). FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2016, file photo, Flint, Mich. resident LeeAnne Walters testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The woman who exposed the Flint, Michigan, lead disaster is among seven people around the world who ar...(AP Photo/Molly Riley, File). FILE - In this Feb. 3, 2016, file photo, Flint, Mich. resident LeeAnne Walters testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. The woman who exposed the Flint, Michigan, lead disaster is among seven people around the world who ar...
    A woman who played a key role in exposing the lead-tainted water disaster in Flint, Michigan, is among seven people to win a Goldman Environmental Prize for grassroots environmental activism.More >>
    A woman who played a key role in exposing the lead-tainted water disaster in Flint, Michigan, is among seven people to win a Goldman Environmental Prize for grassroots environmental activism.More >>
  • Lax vetting on Trump nominees begins to frustrate senators

    Lax vetting on Trump nominees begins to frustrate senators

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 12:47 AM EDT2018-04-25 04:47:40 GMT
    Wednesday, April 25 2018 2:30 PM EDT2018-04-25 18:30:18 GMT
    (AP Photo/Alex Brandon). CIA director Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan Pompeo arrive for a State Dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump at the White House, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Washington.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon). CIA director Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan Pompeo arrive for a State Dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron and President Donald Trump at the White House, Tuesday, April 24, 2018, in Washington.

    As President Donald Trump's pick to lead Veterans Affairs skids to a halt, senators from both parties are voicing frustration that the White House is skipping crucial vetting of nominees and leaving lawmakers to...

    More >>

    As President Donald Trump's pick to lead Veterans Affairs skids to a halt, senators from both parties are voicing frustration that the White House is skipping crucial vetting of nominees and leaving lawmakers to clean up the mess.

    More >>

(RNN) - The U.S. Congress is set to vote on an amendment in the Defense Appropriations Bill that would defund a controversial part of the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program.

However, the White House and the NSA are urging members of Congress to vote against it. A vote could come as soon as Wednesday.

The amendment, proposed by Rep. Justin Amash, R-MI, and supported by several Democrats and Republicans, would cut funds to Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The law allows the NSA to collect an unlimited amount of the American public's call records without a warrant.

The vast collection of Americans' phone records was the first leak from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, initially reported by The Guardian. Other documents followed that gave more insight into the government's massive surveillance program.

According to the U.S. House of Representatives website, the bill "ends authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act." It also bars the NSA and others from using Section 215 to collect records, "including telephone call records that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation."

In a show of bipartisan support, the bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Jared Polis, D-CO, Mick Mulvaney, R-SC, Thomas Massie, R-KY, and John Conyers Jr., D-MI.

In addition, the bill is widely supported by privacy rights groups such as Stop Watching Us and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which described the bill as "an important step in curbing the NSA's domestic surveillance."

Although it was barely introduced Monday, the bill quickly caught the attention of privacy activists. A website, DefundtheNSA.com, was quickly put up to help people urge their representatives to vote for its passage.

"The vote on this bill is critical," the website's homepage says. "We need to flood Congress with calls in support of the amendment and hold our representatives accountable."

The site gives representatives' phone numbers and a sample script for people to use.

In an interview with Motherboard, Sina Khanifar, the creator of the website, said the vote will serve as a way for the people to know where their representative stands on the issue of mass government surveillance.

"The most important part of this is that it's the first instance of members of the House voting for or against the gathering of metadata," Khanifar said. "It's a bit like drawing a line in the sand, and asking members of Congress if they're for or against it. Everyone's going to be on record as either opposing or supporting NSA surveillance."

Despite the wide support for the bill, the White House is strongly against it.

"We oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our intelligence community's counterterrorism tools," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

The statement continues: "We urge the House to reject the Amash Amendment, and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation."

The NSA is also making a strong push to convince Congress not to pass the bill.

Tuesday, Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger called members of the House for an emergency meeting with top NSA official Gen. Keith Alexander that was labeled "top secret," the Huffington Post reported.

Amash tweeted a response to the backlash against his amendment.

"Pres Obama opposes my #NSA amendment, but American people overwhelmingly support it," Amash wrote. "Will your Rep stand with the [White House] or the Constitution?"

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly