Lawmakers introduce bills requiring Obama to explain his secret interpretation of the spying laws

Two legislators have introduced legislation that would require the President to disclose his secret interpretation of America's spying laws. This is especially relevant in the wake of yesterday's Snoweden leaks showing how the NSA uses a secret interpretation of the FISA spying law to spy on Americans.

The new bill in the house complements a similar bill introduced in the Senate last week.

"In order to have an informed public debate on the merits of these programs, it is important for the American people to know how such programs have been authorized, their limits and their scope," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) in a statement.

"Particularly now that the existence of these programs has been acknowledged, I believe there is much more that can be shared with the public about their legal basis," Schiff said. "It is my hope that this legislation will increase transparency and inform the national debate about the surveillance authorities provided to the Intelligence Community. I also believe that requiring additional disclosure would provide another valuable check on any potential expansion of surveillance under these authorities, whether by this or any future Administration.”

Lawmakers introduce new bill to compel gov’t to declassify secret court opinions


      1. You may not agree with his sentiment, but surely you can understand Frank’s exasperation. I no longer have any peers who are interested in political participation at any level (volunteering, voting, or even talking about the subject), whereas they were once informed and engaged. The past few years have done incalculable damage to our perception of how the U.S. government works and whether any change within that system is possible. 

        In other words, your reply no longer resonates with many idealists as it once would.

  1. I’m just going to post Steely Dan youtubes any time laws are proposed to restrain the security state, because they are quite as likely to accomplish it.

    1.  That won’t work. Theodore Roosevelt asked Congress for money to send troops to the Philippines. Congress delayed, so Roosevelt, as commander in chief order the troops there and then told Congress that if they wanted the troops back they’d have to fund the mission.

      While it is unlikely that the NSA funding would be cut, there are ways that the President can get funding that Congress might have to approve.

      1. There are no troops involved here and congress cuts funding for programs all of the time – ask the defense contractors who are miffed over the sequester.

          1. Yeah, it’s not like everyone’s completely forgotten about Iran-Contra by now.  Then again…

             In the end, fourteen administration officials were indicted, including then-Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Eleven convictions resulted, some of which were vacated on appeal. The rest of those indicted or convicted were all pardoned in the final days of the presidency of George H. W. Bush, who had been vice-president at the time of the affair.

            So it seems one could actually get away with it, too.

          2. Yeah, it’s not like everyone’s completely forgotten about Iran-Contra by now.

            Actually, there was a guy a couple of weeks ago who had no idea what it was.

          3. Oh, no doubt.  I’ve had occasion to remind people of it with increasing frequency as I’ve gotten older.  Still and all, we’re not all dead yet.  Increasingly ignored, perhaps…

    2. That will be the absolutely last thing that losses funding. We’ll have bridges falling, cities burning and no schools, but the NSA will be well funded.

  2. bills requiring president to explain his secret interpretation of the spying laws

    Who would’ve thought 20 years ago that such a thing would happen in the USA instead of Russia or China.

    How the mighty have fallen…

    1. Russia and china passed laws 20 years ago to mandate greater transparency?

      I recall tanks shelling the Russian parliament about 20 years ago, and also chinese tanks in public squares to put down protests 20+ years ago.

      But other than that. TOTES THE SAME

      1. No, I meant the total surveillance, secret courts with secret laws, indefinite detention and torture stuff.

        1. Yeah, that goes back more than 20 years here.

          Why is it that whomever is in charge when someone pulls their own head out of the sand, is to blame? It didn’t strt under Obama. Or bush, or Clinton, or Reagan or carter, or ford or Nixon, K?

          My issue is with your characterization of ‘the mighty’ and not ‘the falling’.

      2. Yeah, all we have in recent memory is a nationwide coordinated violent forceful end to upwards of a dozen protests in public squares. Oh and what ffabian said.

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  6. Congress has passed these laws and funded the NSA’s big new Data Center in Utah.. The only Congressman I know of that has stood up and said clearly that “we (Congress) all knew about it because we were briefed” is Al Franken. Rand and Ron Paul are liars. Our 535 Congressional “representatives” {snicker} do whatever they wish and only freak out if they’re caught with their pants down.

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