All sizes | Senator Dianne Feinstein has endorsed David Lee for District 1 Supervisor | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
The Senate Intelligence Committee today approved a bill that woud do more harm than good in the fight against domsetic surveillance.

On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee, charged with overseeing the National Security Agency’s controversial surveillance operations, approved a bill ostensibly crafted to rein in U.S. domestic spying.

But how much does the bill actually do to address Americans’ concerns in the wake of former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s massive online and telephone spy programs?

The short answer is: nothing.

The bill, known as the “FISA Improvements Act”—a reference to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 that governs U.S. spying on American citizens—was introduced by Senator and Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

Recall some of Feinstein’s previous statements in the wake of the Snowden leak: On one occasion, she called Snowden’s leaks an “act of treason.” And as late as October, she has asserted that “the call-records program is not surveillance.” It’s hard to imagine a sweeping NSA reform bill to emerge from such sentiments.

Instead, the bill, which was approved by the Senate intelligence committee by a vote of 11 to 4, simply increases the amount of oversight of the bulk telephony metadata collection program. For example, each year the NSA would have to publish the number of times it searched the metadata database and reveal how many of those searchers lead to investigations. The NSA has never had trouble navigating the various oversight regulations (like the intelligence committee) and presumably, it won’t have much difficulty in this case either.

In one sense, as the Verge points out, the bill actually serves to officially establish a legal metadata collection program. In the past, the program has in fact operated in something of a legal grey area, justified someone ambiguously by the FISA Amendments Act. Feinstein’s bill would make it an official, regulated practice.

The bill appears to be Feinstein’s answer to the USA Freedom Act, which was jointly introduced in both the House and the Senate. If passed, the bill would effectively dismantle the entire metadata collection program inside the U.S.

Ultimately, the two bills represent the two opposing (and markedly bipartisan) views in Congress: there are those who want to enact real reforms to Congress in the wake of Snowden’s leaks, and there are those who don’t. For better or worse, Feinstein’s appears to be the latter.

Photo by David Lee/Flickr

Promoted Stories Powered by Sharethrough
Layer 8
A female Lebanese news anchor was told to shut up—here's what she did instead
Rima Karaki is a Lebanese TV host who isn't afraid of a fight. Things got heated Monday when Karaki was interviewing Hani Al-Seba'i about the phenomenon of Christians joining Islamic groups like ISIS. Al-Seba’i is a Sunni scholar who fled to London after he was sentenced in an Egyptian court to 15 years in prison for being a part of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. The United Nations considers the group to be an affiliate of al Qaeda.
internet freedom
Congress introduces USA Freedom Act to limit NSA's domestic phone spying
The bill regarded as standing the best chance of actually curtailing the National Security Agency's domestic spying activities in the near future was introduced into Congress Tuesday.
The Latest From Daily Dot Video
Group

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!