Congress Quietly Decides To Delete Key NSA Reform In CRomnibus Agreement

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You may recall, back in June, that there was a key House vote that took NSA sup­port­ers by sur­prise. An amend­ment to the Defense Appro­pri­a­tions bill pushed by a bi-par­ti­san team of Thomas Massie, Jim Sensen­bren­ner and Zoe Lof­gren passed over­whelm­ing­ly, with a plan to slam the door shut on ques­tion­able NSA “back­door search­es” (as described in detail ear­li­er). The House vot­ed 293 to 123, mak­ing it a pret­ty clear and over­whelm­ing state­ment that Con­gress did not, in fact, sup­port such prac­tices by the NSA.

But, of course, the NSA gets the last laugh. As part of the big lame­duck CRom­nibus effort in Con­gress, it appears that the House lead­er­ship has agreed to drop that amend­ment, despite the fact it passed over­whelm­ing­ly. Appar­ent­ly, this is anger­ing many who sup­port­ed that amend­ment, and in response, accord­ing to Cato’s Patrick Edding­ton, Con­gress is going to bring up the CRom­nibus under closed rule to basi­cal­ly block any­one attempt­ing to add it back in as an amend­ment (which is what some had hoped to do).

It’s basi­cal­ly yet anoth­er giant mid­dle fin­ger to the idea of any mean­ing­ful sur­veil­lance reform — even one that the major­i­ty of Con­gress want­ed.