Massie-Lofgren Would Shut Down ALL Back Door Searches under Section 702

There are two details about the Massie-Lofgren Amendmentwhich passed the house by a 293-123 vote last night — that are currently being missed. First, the bill would shut down all back door searches under Section 702.

Except as provided in subsection (b), none of the funds made available by this Act may be used by an officer or employee of the United States to query a collection of foreign intelligence information acquired under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1881a) using a United States person identifier.

That means it would apply to FBI, in addition to CIA and NSA (which is what some people are reporting).

That’s the other detail people are missing. According to the John Bates opinion in which he first authorized back door searches for NSA and CIA in 2011, a third agency, which another document says is the FBI, had had that authority going back to 2008. According to the same language, FBI also had the authority to conduct back door searches on traditional FISA taps, which they would retain under this amendment.

 

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

10 replies
    • Ed Willard says:

      I guess it would depend on just how one would define “Independent contractor”
      Being as “left” as one could get, I am certainly of the opinion that nobody, but nobody, should be able to do any sort of back door spying on any of us!!
      I am sick and tired of all of these agencies!! Ed Willard

  1. James says:

    If you are an independant contractor, who is hired by the government, wouldn’t that make you an employee of the government?

    • Don Lavanty says:

      No unfortunately not. The company you work for is a contractor of the government but your still not an employee as your pay check will be coming from your company. Even if your company was very small, you would still be considered a contractor.

      You are still obligated to follow what guidelines your company and its relationship to the government agency would require which also would include what your clearance level would indicate. This is where Snowden is in trouble not via his company as much as he violated his security clearance by sharing classified documents to person or persons out side of the agency. He would similarly be in trouble if he shared some info to someone working at the same company depending on the documents and clearance requirements.

  2. david jernberg says:

    nice to prevent them from snooping on us
    but I have to wonder this: how do we know they still wont snoop on us?
    nice to pass a law but who is going to watch and make sure the nsa doesnt stop
    and just say it has

    my swedish grandfather was right: never trust the government they do not care about
    any of us only themselves and their big paychecks and ridiculous benifits

  3. david jernberg says:

    by he way sounds like congress and our excuse for a president still have to pass it
    if thats the case well good luck
    Obama wont sign it he doesn’t care about any of us at all either!
    He is the worst president I’ve ever seen he should be impeached and thrown out of office
    immediately that pitiful excuse for a president

  4. John says:

    Not good enough. The problem is not the crafting of the query. The problem is that the data set itself cannot be constitutionally collected. This bill claims to remove illegal abuses but only conceals them. Cannot query by name…how about social security number, or address, or drivers license number, or telephone number, or about half a dozen other qualifiers that point to a citizen without using their name. The whole secret court thing is a violation of a right to a public and speedy trial of your peers. This bill is simply to defuse the public awareness of the illegal collection of personal information. Hmm…no insertion of data collection points…kind of meaningless when the data collection points are already inserted. How about remove all collection points that can be used to collect information without warrant? If the National Security Agency is making us less secure then it is not part of the solution, but part of the problem.

  5. James says:

    This is only a start indicating lawmakers are just beginning to feel the heat. The “Reset the Net” project and even the public awareness of it and its techniques will be more effective at disrupting the “spying without the warrant of a public court” nonsense that NSA, FBI,CIA and their slimy counterparts in the U.K., Canada, and Israel have been doing to all of us. Open source encryption on full disks, emails and web searches, virtual keyboards, proxies, non-Windows operating systems, the Onion Router system and use of vPNs will slow them down plenty. Meanwhile, reduction of their funding in a time of federal fiscal restraint will help if we keep mentioning the huge cost of the NSA and its invasive programs to the taxpayer.

  6. ess emm says:

    Where did this resistance come from? The Amash-Conyers coalition gained 90-some votes, who saw that coming? Not me.

  7. Jane Suzanne Streeter says:

    People keep forgetting that politician translates into ‘moron’…if you beat them over the head enough, with enough calls and emails they will eventually get the point, but it can take a while. What Demand Progress and similar organization actually does is simple…they tell the American Public exactly what is going on and leave a link in the email to the appropriate federal person, department or a list of email links for the house and senate…so people can contact their reps and senators and beat them around the head until they understand that they have two choices.

    Choice 1: Do as you’re told.

    Choice 2: Get voted out of office the next time you come ’round here wantin’ to kiss babies.

    The message is very clear, either you do it or the next guy will, either way, it’s going to be done.

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