Nothing in politics happens by accident, and if the result was chaos then it was meant to be that way. These were the words of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt over 70 years ago, and which apply just as much today as it did back then in the halls of Congress, and the administration of the White House.
This is because a new trillion dollar omnibus spending bill contains much more than just appropriations, as included in the bill are a myriad of liberty destroying laws such as CISA that negate all ground gained in recent years in stopping the government from spying on your communications.
CISA is the Cyber-security Information Sharing Act, and allows private enterprises such as social media and telecommunications to share data with the government without fear of lawsuits, and without warrants. And like the way the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) was pushed through via a defense appropriations bill, Congress provided little time at all for the public, or other legislators, to debate its inclusion in the primary bill.
In a late-night session of Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a new version of the “omnibus” bill, a massive piece of legislation that deals with much of the federal government’s funding. It now includes a version of CISA as well. Lumping CISA in with the omnibus bill further reduces any chance for debate over its surveillance-friendly provisions, or a White House veto. And the latest version actually chips away even further at the remaining personal information protections that privacy advocates had fought for in the version of the bill that passed the Senate.
It gets: it appears that while CISA was on hiatus, US lawmakers - working under the direction of corporations adnt the NSA - were seeking to weaponize the revised legislation, and as Wired says, the latest version of the bill appended to the omnibus legislation seems to exacerbate the problem of personal information protections.
It creates the ability for the president to set up “portals” for agencies like the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, so that companies hand information directly to law enforcement and intelligence agencies instead of to the Department of Homeland Security. And it also changes when information shared for cybersecurity reasons can be used for law enforcement investigations. The earlier bill had only allowed that backchannel use of the data for law enforcement in cases of “imminent threats,” while the new bill requires just a “specific threat,” potentially allowing the search of the data for any specific terms regardless of timeliness. - Wired
Until recently, courts have been standing up against unlawful and unconstitutional intrusions into the people’s private data, but with new terror attacks taking place in both Paris and San Bernadino over the past few weeks, it appears that Congress is using the specter of fear to push through this legislation under the cover of night, and in an appropriations bill that provides Congress new powers that they have wanted over the public for awhile.
Ever since 9/11, the U.S. government has passed multiple laws and programs that remove the rights of citizens under the guise of the ‘war on terror’. But more than 14 years after the Patriot Act, NDAA, Civil Forfeiture, and now CISA have been enacted, not one terror attack has ever been thwarted according to FBI testimony. Which then has to lead all Americans to the conclusion that these laws have little or nothing to do with actually stopping terror, and everything to do with imposing vast control over the citizenry.
Kenneth Schortgen Jr is a writer for Secretsofthefed.com, Examiner.com, Roguemoney.net, and To the Death Media, and hosts the popular web blog, The Daily Economist. Ken can also be heard Wednesday afternoons giving an weekly economic report on the Angel Clark radio show.