Friday, May 22, 2015

Senate Rejects NSA Bill

With the "Compromise bill" falling 3 votes short of passing in the Senate, the NSA domestic spying program is threatened with expired authority. Meaning, if a law is not passed soon that remediates the issue, the NSA as we know it will cease to exist. However many people believe that would be a good thing. With time being eaten up by filibusters from the likes of Senator Rand Paul, senators describing the program as an illegal abuse of power, there are others who claim the program is vital for national security. What do you think? Should the NSA be kept in existence or in some other form? Or should it be completely dissolved? 


Christian Carlson said...

I don't think that the keeping the NSA is necessarily a bad thing. The organization is fundamentally one of security, which I believe to be important. Though the recent scandals and controversy surrounding it are definitely areas of concern that should addressed. If the NSA sort of sheds its negative image and works towards something better, it should definitely stay.

Jeremiah Rondeau said...

I support the "USA Freedom Act" because I enjoy freedom, and support the USA.

EDIT: That's embarrassing-- it should appear that passing the current "USA Freedom Act" neither supports freedom nor American values. What a shocking misnomer.

The bulk data collection of the NSA is wrong on many grounds. Although the constitutional/philosophical/moral ramifications of such policy are usually the ones addressed, this program makes no sense on practical grounds either.

Whenever those who defend the NSA argue for the agency, they use broad goals such as "security" (which Christian used above). Why is that? Shouldn't they be able to point to a working soccer mom who's life has been saved by the program? They likely would, if such a story existed. Every threat stopped by the NSA was either created by the government (a confused Muslim kid is talked into planting a fake bomb by an FBI agent, etc.) or could have been stopped using a legal warrant.

Paul isn't saying that the government should be unable to monitor the communications of suspected terrorists. That's what warrants are for. He is simply arguing that the NSA should not be able to monitor those of us who (probably) aren't suspected terrorists.

Jeremiah Rondeau said...

Perhaps just as important, this schism provides hope for the Republican party's future. The article included 2008 nominee John McCain putting Paul on blast for not bending to the whim of "the majority" (the party leadership).

In the 1990's Ted Turner (the billionaire founder of CNN, TBS, etc.) wanted his own wrestling program (WCW Nitro) to outrank WWE Raw. This was achieved by paying a group of former WWE wrestlers (known as the New World Order) to declare war on Turner's brand. Every week they would destroy sets, make fun of Turner's employees, and degrade the titles. It worked-- controversy was created, and regardless of which side of the perceived controversy fans took, Turner made money (they were watching his network).

In politics, the most vocal libertarians (Paul, Amash, etc.) and most vocal authoritarians (Graham, Mitch, etc.) both belong to the Republican party. Which side of this controversy are you on? Both choices have an (R) next to their names. Perhaps that's more useful than party unity.

Ben Maison said...

I don't agree with the younger Paul on everything, but when he challenges the security status quo, I support his actions. Really it's a question of how much ability should the tools the government has have? They would swear up and down the river that every single check goes through a court system warrant, but there has been evidence which points to another story. When case after case comes out that even common staff of the NSA were using the system to spy on their family and acquaintances, it puts to question just how many barriers there are between your data and an interested party.

Douglas Kirsher said...

We live in a complicated time. Technology not only is a part of our lives, in some ways it controls our lives. Our founding fathers could never imagined the technology we have today. Is the NSA domestic spying program necessarily a bad thing? I don’t think the NSA bill is that bad because as I understand it, it involves collection of data that is only used if there is suspicion of a threat against the country. With the threat of terrorist attacks high, we need the tools to protect the United States even if some people think it is too intrusive to our civil liberties.