House was only 7 votes away from requiring NSA to follow the 4th Amendment

voteby League of Women Voters of California

US lawmakers vote against legislation to curb NSA’s spying program
[Via BoingBoing]

In Washington, the House voted against legislation [PDF] that would have stopped the National Security Agency from gathering vast amounts of phone records, “handing the Obama administration a hard-fought victory in the first congressional showdown over the N.S.A.’s surveillance activities since Edward J. Snowden’s security breaches last month.” Jonathan Weisman and Charlie Savage in the New York Times:

The 205-to- 217 vote was far closer than expected and came after a brief but impassioned debate over a citizen’s right to privacy and the steps the government must take to protect national security. It was a rare instance in which a classified intelligence program was openly discussed on the House floor, and the issue led to some unusual coalitions. Conservative Republicans leery of what they see as Obama administration abuses of power teamed with liberal Democrats long opposed to intrusive intelligence programs. The Obama administration made common cause with the House Republican leadership to try to block it.

House members pressing to reign in the N.S.A. vowed afterward that the outrage unleashed by Mr. Snowden’s disclosures would eventually put a brake on the agency’s activities. Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and a longtime critic of post-9/11 counterterrorism efforts, said proponents will keep coming back with legislation to curtail the dragnets for “metadata” — whether through phone records or Internet surveillance. At the very least, the section of the Patriot Act in question will be allowed to expire in 2015.


This amendment would have restricted so-called Section 215 collection of data on Americans to those specifically named in a warrant, rather than the wholesale approach they are doing now. This Techdirt article provides more information.

Seven votes is awfully close. Check out your Representative’s vote here. Then ask them if they have any concerns about Section 215 abuses by the NSA. If they are perfectly happy with the government collecting all that data using a secret interpretation of the laws with minimal Congressional oversight, then maybe you should look for different representation.

As seen from the vote, this is not a partisan issue. This is an authoritarian/individual freedom issue. Our Founding Fathers fought against authoritarians. Ask your Representative if they feel similarly.

All we would ned is seven votes to change. Maybe democracy in action will have an effect on just seven votes.