White House moves to prevent dismantling parts of NSA
Approach, they argue is 'not the product of an informed, open or deliberative process'
A House bill to shutter significant parts of the now very unpopular National Security Agency, or NSA's surveillance activities has met with opposition from the White House. The Obama administration has taken the rare position of releasing a statement opposing the amendment. They feel the measure is too rash and needs more analytical thought.
As written by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, the bill would cut off funds to the NSA if it collects data on individuals who are not under investigation. If passed, this would effectively shut down the sweeping Internet and phone data collection programs that have been revealed in news reports. The House is preparing to vote on the amendment.
After hearing that the amendment would be given a vote as part of the Defense Appropriations bill this week, the White House scrambled to try to declaw it. NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander headed up to Capitol Hill later that day for a question and answer session with lawmakers in a classified, members-only briefing.
"We urge the House to reject the Amash Amendment and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a seasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation," Carney said.
Amash "tweeted" his supporters to contact their members of Congress and express their strong support of the measure.
"Pres Obama opposes my #NSA amendment, but American people overwhelmingly support it," he tweeted. "Will your Rep stand with the WH or the Constitution?"
The actions taken on the part of the white House highlights the importance that Obama's national security team places on the surveillance program and its counterterrorism powers.
Amash must overcome opposition from most members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees, who say the program has helped them thwart multiple terrorist plots.
In opposition, leaders from the House and Senate Intelligence committees publicly denounced Amash's amendment and seven House committee chairmen wrote a letter to colleagues urging a "no" vote.
Amash still has plenty of support for his view among Republicans, as well as liberal Democrats who have criticized the NSA programs sweeping reach. Amash only won the right to offer the measure as an amendment on the House floor after he said he had enough support to prevent the Defense bill from moving to the floor by voting down a procedural measure.
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
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Respect for Women: That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
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