Tale Of Two NSA Bills: Feinstein Gets Big Bucks From Intelligence Contractors, Leahy Doesn’t

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

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has positioned herself as one of the primary Congressional defenders of the National Security Agency’s bulk surveillance programs following recent controversy, and she has even penned a “reform” bill that codifies the spy agency’s powers.

Feinstein’s bill, dubbed the FISA Improvements Act, is different from much of the other legislation proposed by her Congressional peers following whistle-blower Edward Snowden’s leaks because, while it would implement modest reporting requirements for the agency, the legislation green lights the continued collection of metadata on every phone call in the United States.

“This is not reform but an attempt to put a congressional stamp of approval on gross privacy violations. We will fight this bill for what it is — a way to make the worst abuses of the Patriot Act permanent,” American Civil Liberties Union attorney Michelle Richardson told POLITICO in reference to Feinstein’s bill.

The Feinstein bill is competing with other efforts to address the NSA controversy in the Senate which offer strict privacy protections and transparency requirements and curtail the NSA’s data collection abilities. One of the strongest efforts, the “USA Freedom Act,” has been offered by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

That bill would effectively end the bulk collection of communications data that was authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The bill would also introduce a number of safeguards and reforms to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court, which governs the NSA.

Last week, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) added his name to the Leahy bill and criticized the Senate Intelligence Committee for moving Feinstein’s bill late last month.

“I am proud to add Chairman Leahy as a co-sponsor of our Intelligence Oversight and Surveillance Reform Act. Our bipartisan legislation sets the bar for real, meaningful reforms to surveillance law,” said a statement from Wyden. “This includes ending the dragnet domestic surveillance that has infringed on the Constitutional rights of millions of Americans without making our country any safer.”

Wyden was one of four members of the Intelligence Committee who voted against Feinstein’s bill.

“Now that the Senate Intelligence Committee has decided to preserve surveillance business-as-usual, Chairman Leahy’s legislation is now our best hope for reform in this Congress,” Wyden’s statement said.

Earlier in the month, however, Feinstein vowed to kill the Leahy bill which a growing number of her colleagues have embraced, saying: “I will do everything I can to keep this program from being canceled out… to destroy it is to make this nation more vulnerable.”

It has previously been noted that 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. And a recent comparison of campaign contributions to Feinstein and Leahy by top the Nation’s top intelligence contractors from MapLight may provide the answer.

According to the numbers, Feinstein has received three times more money from top intelligence service contractors than Leahy since 2007:

chart

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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  • IHateLibs

    Making Money from things like This, SHOULD get them IMEDIATE SLAM Time

    • Viet Nam Vet

      But they are ‘Above’ their laws.

      WHAT A GREAT NATION WE HAVE BECOME !

      • Edward James Almost

        They are not immune to flying lead! And thank you for your service to our country- whats left of it!

  • 1baronrichsnot1

    Cronyism is alive and well in DC! You guys might google Richard Blum, I think this real estate broker recieved a contract to sell gov’t buildings, isn’t he married to Dianne?

    • Tuffy Butler

      I thought she was married to Richard Night Stalker Ramirez

  • Edward James Almost

    These progressive hipocrites like Feinstein were the ones crying about the patriot act taking away our freedoms , now they are taking the patriot act to new levels of absurdity, along with a little Cronyism thrown in , in the case of Dianne Feinstein!! Jail these clowns!!!

  • MIKE6080

    she is a crook , her husband is a crook , and all demonrats are crooks and liars – just look at barry . she should be in prison .

  • Alan

    Same old, same old BS. Follow the money and you will usually find the real reasons behind most legislation. These crooks should be prosecuted for ethics violations.

  • Rick Rak

    Feinsteins husband made about 100 million commission on the sale of unwanted Post Office property. IShe has money coming in from everywhere. No wonder Feinstein loves politics……..and you Democrats though she cared about you!……….LOL