Feinstein Continues Crusade To Defend NSA, Even As Senate Democrats And The Author Of The Patriot Act Say The Spy Agency Is Out Of Control


Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has set aside her crusade to take away Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights in recent months to devote the bulk of her energy to ensuring that the Federal government retains its ability to abrogate the 4th Amendment with impunity by conducting unchecked mass surveillance.

The Senate fails to vote for cloture on the Student Loan Bill in Washington
Credit: UPI

Two weeks ago, Feinstein took to The Wall Street Journal to pen an op-ed in shameless defense of the National Security Agency’s spying efforts titled “The NSA’s Watchfulness Protects America.” Her argument hinged on remembering the 9/11 terror attacks, repeatedly noting that terror attacks remain a possibility and promoting the idea that Americans should accept that the NSA is keeping the Nation safe because the NSA says it is doing so.

She wrote: “The program—which collects phone numbers and the duration and times of calls, but not the content of any conversations, names or locations—is necessary and must be preserved if we are to prevent terrorist attacks.”

The following Sunday, the Senator penned another piece for USA Today, insisting that the NSA isn’t doing anything that could be considered spying and that “the NSA call-records program is legal and subject to extensive congressional and judicial oversight.”

“The call-records program is not surveillance. It does not collect the content of any communication, nor do the records include names or locations,” she insisted. “The NSA only collects the type of information found on a telephone bill: phone numbers of calls placed and received, the time of the calls and duration. The Supreme Court has held this ‘metadata’ is not protected under the Fourth Amendment.”

Feinstein’s arguments follow what seems to be the government’s official narrative on the NSA’s “non-spying.”

Last week, NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander parroted a similar message talking about Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

“They aren’t spying programs,” he said. “One is called the Business Records FISA Program, or Section 215, and the other is called the FISA Amendment Act 702 or PRISM.”

What Feinstein and Alexander both ignore is not what Section 215 of the Patriot Act and Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) say on paper, but rather the Federal government’s perverse application of those sections—the result of which is wholly illegal and unConstitutional mass data collection.

While some lawmakers—Democrat and Republican—have acknowledged the NSA’s misdeed in interpreting the Acts and have sought to reform the FISA court to provide additional oversight, Feinstein’s  latest moves indicate that she is willing to go to war, even with members of her own party, to codify the NSA’s spying powers.

“I do not want to leave the United States in a position where we are open to another major attack because we can’t ferret out who terrorists might be calling in this country to put it together,” Feinstein said in an interview over the weekend.

In her capacity as the head of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence, Feinstein is working to create legislation that would do little more than restate the NSA’s authority to gather records listing the numbers, duration and time of all U.S. telephone calls. The Senator claims that the legislation would increase privacy protections and Congressional oversight— but she has given no indication that her bill would rein in current abuses of surveillance authority. Many of Feinstein’s critics say that she is simply attempting to create legislation stating that the NSA activities which have recently elicited public outrage are the norm.

“It seems as though the Intelligence committees are working on bills designed to allow them to say they are advancing reforms without fundamentally changing much of anything,” Julian Sanchez, a research fellow with the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, told National Review.

The Feinstein bill will face competing and more privacy-friendly legislation offered by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which seeks to stop mass spying, increase transparency about the spying and publicly disclose some of the secret FISA opinions supposedly justifying the programs.

Both of the Senate Democrats have access to classified information pertaining to the NSA’s activities, yet they have managed to come to starkly contrasting conclusions: Feinstein calls the surveillance agency’s programs “data collection.” Leahy refers to the NSA’s actions as outright domestic spying.

Feinstein’s undying dedication to keeping the surveillance status quo intact has led some people to question whether her efforts are truly the result of a belief that “it’s the only way we prevent an attack” or if she simply has become too close to the Nation’s intelligence agencies.

One legislator who has questioned Feinstein’s motives is Representative James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), who is expected to introduce a House version of the Leahy bill as soon as today. The Representative, who was an author of the original 2001 Patriot Act that made the NSA programs possible, contends that Feinstein is simply offering surveillance critics a “fig leaf” to quiet displeasure about an out-of-control surveillance state.

“The National Security Agency has gone overboard in grabbing everyone’s phone records. They have never been specific as to how many terrorist plots they stopped and it’s time this gets straightened around,” he said. “The original intention of these laws is to find out who is a foreigner who is involved in terrorist activities and then find out who that person is talking to rather than taking everyone’s records and sifting through them.”

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • independent thinker

    We need a whistle blower to come forward and release all the dirt the NSA has on Feinstein and is using to control her.

    • Timothy Sullivan

      The bad part is that all these pieces of garbage have loads of blackmail items on each other. They then can feel confident that their skeletons in the closet will never be revealed because once the bag of excrement is opened on one, the concatenation of events that will transpire will be monumental. That there will ever be a whistle blower of that magnitude is extremely remote. BTW exactly WHO will then give them immunity??? A dirt nap will be their next destination!

  • USMCVeteran

    Diane Slimestein is a tyrant.

    • Jim Read

      What provisions do the Constitution give about removing tyrants? The WAKE UP call has already been made and it went unanswered!

      • dan

        Navy Yard massacre ? Zeroes purging of Flag Officers ?

    • Diane Ringen

      Yes, America, let us take down one at a time. It is like starting a new job. You have to start at the bottom

  • Jim Read

    What about any of this surprises anyone with a brain? If the NSA is so good, why did Benghazi happen? Supposedly they are listening “around” the world but me thinks they only listen at home.

    • denise0513

      They didn’t do a very good job for Boston, either. I would venture to say they only listen to protect their asses as well as the politicians or better yet, they listen to get dirt on politicians and Supreme Court justices for blackmail purposes.

  • http://waltgoshert.com/free-lead-generation-report/ Walt Goshert

    “I do not want to leave my major campaign funders in a position where they are open to losing profits and dipping shareholder value because I can’t ferret out who I really represent in this country.” Feinstein said in an interview over the weekend.

    There… fixed it.

  • hippybiker

    Diane Fineswine should be dancing on air.

  • jimwilson81

    Feinstein I have to ask, “Who watches the watchers? ” Apparently you are not

  • hungry4food

    What a Bunch of Cotton Pickin LYING SNAKES !!!!!!!!!!
    Face The Nation 10-27-13
    Bob Woodward warns of the “secret government.”

  • 1baronrichsnot1

    She would back anything even this agency, and a marxist society to wrap the deal for her husband to sell the post office dept excess properties for a commission of 1.2 billion bucks. She wants Mr. blum to succeed so she will get half! It’s so easy to figure a crook out, just follow the money! So she do have motive!

  • FreedomFighter

    Diane “Demon Eyes” Fiendstien needs to be recalled, voted out, impeached or otherwise removed from power. Somebody needs to investigate this woman, nobody this evil is clean, if some skeleton is left in this evil persons closet it needs to be exposed.
    Laus DeoSemper FI

  • hungry4food

    What did the President know and when did he know about the NSA and Other Agencies eves dropping ????? This makes it hard for Obama to claim he didn’t know about listening in on VIPs and citizens .

    White House gives Homeland Security control of all communication systems

    Bob Woodward warns of the “secret government.”


    she just keeps waving the nazi ss propoganda flag all around proudly with a big ugly smile dont she?!

    PS,obama knows about everything.

    • dan

      that smile is a cruel and controlling smile…pure evil

      • Diane Ringen

        Her eyes are beady, too.

  • Hank

    This old woman has not got it correct in years. She is the poster person for TERM LIMITS !!!!!

  • Abrogation

    I heard the NSA had spy cams in her bedroom but they had to deactivate them cos the people monitoring them kept going home sick.

  • Alan

    Feinstein and Piglosi should be tied together and burned at the stake like the witches they are.

    • Robert Messmer

      Shame on you degrading the good name of Witch that way!

      • Alan

        Sorry, no offence to the good witch intended.

  • alboy5

    Feinstein should smell the roses having government in everyone’s crotch was not the intent of the founding fathers. Compared to the founders which would be Einstein Feinstein would be Obamas janitor which she apparently is.

  • alboy5

    NSA knew that Osama sold his interest in the WTC weeks before Osama blew up the WTC. NSA should be disbanded they are just playing pocket pool, while recording peoples phone info which they never used for a useful purpose.

  • alboy5

    Obama doesn’t have control of his crotch, but he wants to put his hand on everybody elses crotch and insure the degradation and destruction on healthcare in the U.S.

  • alboy5

    Obamacrats dont care about democracy and treat citizens as their personal slaves to do their bidding and the bidding of their lord and saviour Obozo. Its a weird nightmare you cant escape by being awake.

  • bob

    Funny that the commie Feinstein is on the security counsel ….take their guns away and spy on their entire life seems to be her mantra.

  • Motov

    Big Brother seriously needs to shrink, cutting this sad appendage is most warranted.