Fed Gov’t Just Admitted It Will Continue Warrantless Spying—Even If Congress Votes to Stop It

By Rachel Blevins

As the United States Congress runs out of time to vote on a bill that would reauthorize one of the government’s most egregious warrantless spying programs, officials are claiming that those programs won’t end anytime soon—even if they are not reauthorized by the end of the year.

The USA Liberty Act will reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2017. While the bill’s proponents have claimed it will help ensure “security” in the United States, privacy advocates have warned that will provide additional loopholes for the government to continue conducting warrantless surveillance of innocent Americans.

The assumption may be that if the USA Liberty Act is not signed into law, then the provisions from Section 702 will no longer be legal and the U.S. government will stop collecting data from innocent Americans without warrants—but intelligence officials do not see it that way.

A spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Brian Hale, told the New York Times that “the government believes it can keep the program going for months,” even if it is not reauthorized.

Hale’s reasoning stems from the fact that every year, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizes the program to operate for the next 12 months. Section 702 was last authorized by the court on April 26, 2017, leaving some lawmakers hopeful that even if the Liberty Act does not pass before the end of the year, Congress will find a way reauthorize Section 702 before it actually expires on April 26, 2018.

Hale cited the “Transition Procedures” for the provision, which accompany the law in federal statute books. He told the Times that the procedures make it “very clear” that “any existing order will continue in effect for a short time even if Congress doesn’t act to reauthorize the law in a timely fashion.”

According to the definitions of Transition Procedures for the Protect America Act of 2007’s provisions for “Challenge of Directives, Protection from Liability; Use of Information” concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Section 702 “shall continue to apply with respect to any directive issued pursuant to section 702 of such Act.”

While this loophole may give hope to some government officials who are in favor of violating Americans’ constitutional rights while selling them a false sense of security, NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden referred to it by writing on Twitter, “Bypass the Fourth Amendment with one weird trick.”

The Times also cited anonymous intelligence officials who reportedly said that the government is making no plans to immediately turn off the program on New Year’s Day, no matter what happens in Congress.”

Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon, told the Times that he is prepared to have “a full and open debate” over the legality of the USA Liberty Act, even if Congress delays that debate until next year.

We’ve seen this movie before: wait until the last minute, and then say, ‘crowded congressional calendar, dangerous world, we’ve just got to go along with it,’” Wyden said. “Anything now that creates an opportunity for several months of real debate, I’ll listen to.”

Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican from Michigan, has also been critical of the USA Liberty Act. When it passed the House Judiciary Committee by a vote of 27-8 last month, Amash noted that all privacy advocates should be concerned about the overwhelming support the bill is receiving from Congress.

“The Liberty Act passed committee 27-8. It allows the government to search our private data without a warrant—in violation of the 4th Amendment,” Amash wrote on Twitter. “It’s another bill, like the Freedom Act, that furthers violations of our rights under the guise of protecting our rights.”

While advocates of the USA Liberty Act will claim that it is necessary in order to ensure that Americans are “safe,” it is important to remember that the surveillance programs that were adopted after 9/11 have never actually stopped a terrorist attack on U.S. soil. In the same way that the USA Patriot Act was the opposite of patriotic in 2001, the USA Freedom Act also took away freedom in 2015. Do not be fooled by the title—the USA Liberty Act in 2017 has nothing to do with expanding “liberty.”

Rachel Blevins is a Texas-based journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives. Follow Rachel on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.

Image Credit: Anthony Freda Art

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14 Comments on "Fed Gov’t Just Admitted It Will Continue Warrantless Spying—Even If Congress Votes to Stop It"

  1. Alice On Morphine | December 9, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Reply

    God help us if they ever pass the Intact Anus Act.

  2. And Maximus screamed to the crowd, “are you not entertained”!

    We may as well have an authentic article and video that reads, “Fed Gov’t eats babies on live TV”
    Does anyone honestly feel anything would be done about it?
    The articles here and many other so called news sites are written for entertainment and gaining readership.
    It’s all about the money, not truth or justice.
    And as we all watch and read with a lust for sensationalism, the criminals advance.

    America is in serious decline and will implode from its rampant corruption, but we will all be very entertained from the destruction.

    A dysfunctional nation addicted to the entertainment of its own destruction.

    None dare call it insanity.

    • So I would like to know your way of changing what goes on in the USSA.come on tell us what to do because I have had about all I can take with the corruption
      and the loss of a great place we used to know.

      • you could do what I did here in Nazi police state Mohave County, Arizona – write to the local newspaper in precise detail – names, addresses, dates, of Government crime stretching up to the highest levels, then have your rsidence broken into, pulled over and threatened with arrest on baseless grounds by police, have everything you’ve got stolen through civil asset forfeiture on unproven (and ultimately, false) allegations, and it’s all kinds of fun. Oh, don’t lave out the final poop job on ya in the event – to see them thread these things in their own way through the Government’s incestuous collusion with Hollywood (and the other venues, such as Indie, foreign, Netflix, etc. films). Straight from their arseholes to you all here, Bullhead City/Az signing off.

      • BugsBunnyPatriot | December 10, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Reply

        WE have reached the point where there is only one answer left and no one has the balls to start it.

      • First start with reading and understanding the US Constitution. After that, your own state’s Constitution. Why? Because not only is the US Constitution the supreme LAW of this nation, but it is the “supreme” CONTRACT for all who SERVE WITHIN our governments – state and federal. Your state Constitution is the highest Law of your state, except in the RARE instances where it conflicts with the US Constitution. It is the highest Contract for those that serve within your state’s government except where the US Constitution is supreme. They cover different areas.

        Daniel Webster: “We may be tossed upon an ocean where we can see no land – nor, perhaps, the sun or stars. But there is a chart and a compass for us to study, to consult, and to obey. That chart is the Constitution.”

        IF you have bothered to read those documents you shuld be aware that the US Constitution REQUIRES that those that serve within our governments use the Militia of the several states to
        — Enforce the US Constitution (supreme Law of this land) and each state’s Constitution (highest Law of the state),
        — Enforce and keep the “Laws of the Union” (which are constitutional laws ONLY),
        — Protect the country against all enemies both domestic and foreign, and
        — “to suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions”.

        You will find that in writing within the US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15. Within Clause 16 you will find the duties that those who serve within the federal government, and within the state governments have TO THE MILITIAS.

        Who are the Militias? You are, I am, he and she over there are. But, to be a LAWFUL Militia that is required to be used to enforce the above list we must ALL be trained as the Congress requires the military to train.

        Richard Henry Lee, 1st Senate: “A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves…”

        George Mason, Co-author of the Second Amendment: “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

        If your state government refused to train you as per their compact, then you need to either serve as military or find a veteran to train you. Then you need to be knowledgeable of the US Constitution and your own state’s Constitution because those are what you are bound to by Oath – yes, you take an Oath, find your state’s Oath as it should be a combined Oath to support and defend the US Constitution and your state’s Constitution.

        If your state’s Militia is called forth by the federal government your highest “boss” is the US Constitution, and the ONLY person you take orders from besides the Militia officers of YOUR state, is the person who serves as the President – not anyone else no matter what rank they hold or office they hold or agency they are serving within. If called into action by those serving within the federal government you are paid by the feds, state governments pay when doing state things. It matters not who pays you, you are bound and under the Constitutions. You are directed in your duties by the President or the Governor of your state – NO one else that is not of your militia and an officer of YOUR state’s Militia. That is the chain of command.

        Also remember that in THIS nation the civil is above the military.

        The Militia keeps the “power of the sword” in the hands of the people. It is the people who defends and enforces the Constitutions, it is the people who hold those who serve within our governments accountable for their actions while serving – all three branches within both the federal and state governments.

        Justice Story, Associate Justice, Supreme Court wrote: “The next amendment is: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’

        “The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of
        rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them”.

        Tench Coxe, Delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787: “Who are the militia? are
        they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other
        terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American… The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.”

        Those that do not want to train and serve within their state’s Militia pays a fee for not doing their duty to the state and the nation.

        What the Milita does is stop any one from grabbing power or taking over the nation from within using unlawful “emergency powers” (different from a state of emergency) or “martial law” – neither of which is LAWFUL here in the USA; nor can there be a “police state” because the people are not going to go against their own powers, rights, and liberty. When someone who serves within our government declares either they are openly declaring their treason.

        The US Constitution has listed the authorites and powers (not all are listed) that are retained by the people; Grand Juries, Grand Jury Investigations, Militia, INFORMED Juries, Elections – and it is the Militias duty to keep them honest and free. Etc.

        Grand Jury – “The grand jury is mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but not in the body of the Constitution. It has not been textually assigned, therefore, to any of the branches described in the first three Articles. It is a constitutional fixture in its own right. In fact the whole theory of its function is that it belongs to no branch of the institutional government, serving as a kind of buffer or referee between the Government and the people”.

        “Thus, citizens have the unbridled right to empanel their own grand juries and present “True Bills” of indictment to a court, which is then required to commence a criminal proceeding. Our Founding Fathers presciently thereby created a “buffer” the people may rely upon
        for justice, when public officials, including judges, criminally violate the law.” (Misbehavior, “Good Behaviour” requirement)

        “The grand jury is an institution separate from the courts, over whose functioning the courts do not preside, we think it clear that, as a general matter at least, no such “supervisory” judicial authority exists. The “common law” of the Fifth Amendment demands a traditional functioning grand jury.”

        “Although the grand jury normally operates, of course, in the courthouse and under judicial auspices, its institutional relationship with the judicial branch has traditionally been, so to speak, at arm’s length. Judges’ direct involvement in the functioning of the grand jury has generally been confined to the constitutive one of calling the grand jurors together and administering their oaths of office. The grand jury’s functional independence from the judicial branch is evident both in the scope of its power to investigate criminal wrongdoing, and in the manner in which that power is exercised.”

        “The grand jury ‘can investigate merely on suspicion that the law is being violated, or even because it wants assurance that it is not.’ It need not identify the offender it suspects, or even “the precise nature of the offense” it is investigating. The grand jury requires no authorization from its constituting court to initiate an investigation, nor does the prosecutor require leave of court to seek a grand jury indictment. And in its day-to-day functioning, the grand jury generally operates without the interference of a presiding judge. It swears in its own witnesses and deliberates in total secrecy.”

        “Recognizing this tradition of independence, we have said the 5th Amendment’s constitutional guarantee presupposes an investigative body ‘acting independently of either prosecuting attorney or judge”

        “Given the grand jury’s operational separateness from its constituting court, it should come as no surprise that we have been reluctant to invoke the judicial supervisory power as a basis for prescribing modes of grand jury procedure. Over the years, we have received many requests to exercise supervision over the grand jury’s evidence-taking process, but we have refused them all. “it would run counter to the whole history of the grand jury institution” to permit an indictment to be challenged “on the ground that there was
        incompetent or inadequate evidence before the grand jury.” (Nor would it be lawful of them to do so.) Justice Antonin Scalia writing for the majority said In the Supreme Court case of United States v. Williams, 112 S.Ct. 1735, 504 U.S. 36, 118 L.Ed.2d 352 (1992)

        I hope this helps you to see the problem is the dumbing down of the people, one must expect those who want power to do what they can to get more of it when the people who are the watchdogs sleep.

        Something to consider;

        Justice Sandra Day O’Connor: “The Constitution does not protect the sovereignty of States for the benefit of the States or state governments as abstract political entities, or even for the benefit of the public officials governing the States. To the contrary, the Constitution divides authority between federal and state governments for the protection of individuals. State sovereignty is not just an end in itself: “Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.”

        Mack and Printz v. United States: “The Framers rejected the concept of a central government that would act upon and through the States, and instead designed a system in which the State and Federal Governments would exercise concurrent authority over the people. The Federal Government’s power would be augmented immeasurably and
        impermissibly if it were able to impress into its service – and at no cost to itself – the police officers of the 50 States… Federal control of state officers would also have an effect upon the separation and equilibration of powers between the three branches of the Federal Government itself.”

      • Telling you what to do would go against my own personal philosophy, and you would be trading one master for another. Others have answered your question here and that is a good start.
        Trust your own independent critical thinking.

        The most important thing that must be done is to allow, or force, the laws to work as intended.

        If the law does not apply equally to everyone, it is no good for anyone.
        This is at the very heart of the matter.
        The criminals that have stolen power have subverted the law to protect their infractions and silence those who speak the truth.

        JFK once said, “Those who make dissent impossible only make revolution inevitable”

        As long as the American people continue to be afraid of speaking the truth, the corruption and intimidation will continue until it collapses from the weight of its own wrong doing.

        We have all the wrong people in power that are building an unsustainable form of governance.
        We have allowed this to grow to an extent that it will take along time to reverse.

        Physics dictates a balloon building in pressure is relieved or burst.

        It all begins with the law.

  3. Psychic Warrior | December 10, 2017 at 8:10 am | Reply

    Congressional laws of any language can not make you safe from the military radiation, the commercial radiation, the chemtrails and/or the extraterrestrials who are running your planet. We need protection from our rogue military and their puppet politicians and to gain the awareness of the hidden hand/claw.

  4. Unfortunately the US government has a long time policy of never following its own laws, the laws of other countries or international law. It has maintained this policy with impunity for many years and where certain facts are revealed showing it lawlessness, it quickly persecutes and if possible, prosecutes the truth tellers to shut them up. Witness what happened to Manning, Assange and Snowden. The truth of American perfidy must remain secret!

  5. christopher kelly police ret. | December 10, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Reply

    the left will destroy anyone if it propels their cause. their own kind are just pawns of the DO WHAT THOU WILT EVIL GROUP. the same with military employees. look what the criminal wesley clark did for clinton with the Bosnian war caper. he slaughtered maybe 50,000 serbs to keep the american peoples eye off the ball during the monica lewinssky caper. the evil is unmeasureable.

  6. BugsBunnyPatriot | December 10, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Reply

    Security, what a joke. Even ISIS, mass shootings and now sexual harassment are part of the government game of misdirection.
    our government is as corrupt as any you care to name.

  7. On 9/11/2001 VP Cheney from the bunker underneath the White House proclaimed a national emergency and the Continuity of Government Act (COG) to be in effect. The provisions of this act are classified. This act has been reinstated before sunset throughout the baby Bush, Obama and now the Trump administrations. This act is thought to activate a number of presidential executive orders and SUSPEND the American Constitution in whole or part, no one in the larger government and the public knowing precisely to what extent because of the classified status of this act. Congress had asked the executive branch on several instances to have knowledge to the extent of any constitutional suspensions. They have never received any answer whatsoever. If this is the case then Congress and the Senate are redundant bodies and should disband until the Constitution is reinstated in full and the state of emergency requiring the COG Act to be in force rescinded. All these other acts and laws are likely but window dressings as cover for COG. If the greater public knew about COG being in effect they would not fall for these legislative side channels as somehow impinging on their already suspended constitution.

  8. The Feds are NOT to be trusted. Lynch and Comey proved to us just how corrupt the DOJ and FBI are. When the Federal police become the private army of one political party…Democracy won’t endure.

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