The Senate voted Dec. 28 to reauthorize post-9/11 surveillance laws that undermine historic privacy protections.
Led by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, right, the Senate rejected all amendments to provide the public more information about government procedures under renewal of the FISA Amendments Act, which authorizes operations in Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The Senate briefly debated reauthorization this week. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rand Paul (R-KY), Mike Lee (R-UT) and several others persuaded Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to allow time for debate.
Feinstein, a California Democrat whose husband, Richard Blum, has become enriched via war contracts, successfully fought for renewal of the law without amendment. As a technical matter, the law primarily targets foreigners. Yet the law in reality has expanded application to resident Americans.
Former NSA executive and Air Force officer Thomas Drake, a victim of the kind of oppressive regime Feinstein and her colleagues advocated, gave a powerful speech several days later at a conference in Germany about how the United States is giving up its Constitutional protections. The U.S. government government unsuccessfully tried to imprison Drake for the rest of his life as a “spy” after he protested the waste of $1.2 billion in security contracts. He was vindicated in court in one of the rare successes recent of whistleblowers against unfair prosecutions. He continues to speak out against the recent changes whereby his former agency changed its mission to encompass secret spying against Americans, a tactic always previously forbidden.
Kevin Gosztola published a powerful report on his remarks excerpted below, US Whistleblowers on Being Targeted by the Secret Security State.
On a more general level, historian and former Reagan administration official Paul Craig Roberts wrote that both political parties are leading the country toward a government controls unknown in the nation's history or law.
“Neither the right-wing nor the left-wing has an interest in getting to the bottom of things,” he wrote Dec. 28 in Agenda Prevails Over Truth. “The right-wing is aligned with the police state in order to make us safe from “terrorism”– Muslim terrorism, not the terrorism of the unaccountable police state. The American left is so feeble that it essentially doesn’t exist. Its issues are gun control, homosexual marriage, abortion, and taxing 'the rich.' Such misfocus cannot slow the onrushing militarized police state.”