Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Privacy The Almighty Buck

US House of Representatives Votes To Cut Funding To NSA 164

Posted by Soulskill
from the congress-threatening-to-actually-do-something dept.
An anonymous reader writes: The U.S. House of Representatives voted late Thursday night, 293 to 123, to approve an amendment to the NSA's appropriations bill that cuts all funding for warrantless surveillance and for programs that force companies to create backdoors in their products. The success of this vote in the House is attributed to the fact that the amendment did not have to go through the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees and also to the increasingly apparent unpopularity of NSA activities among voters. Although privacy advocates laud the vote, there are those who note that the amendment specifically applies to the NSA and CIA while remaining silent on other agencies such as the FBI. The appropriations bill in its entirety will now proceed to the Senate for approval."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

US House of Representatives Votes To Cut Funding To NSA

Comments Filter:
  • Next! (Score:5, Funny)

    by M3.14 (1616191) on Friday June 20, 2014 @08:54AM (#47280543)
    Well, NSA's bust! Let's failover to NSB (N.S.Bureau) and continue without any problems. But - hey, sssh - noone needs to know, right?!
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, cia wasn't supposed to be doing it on american soil in the first place... and nsa has secret court warrants anyways?

    • Re:Next! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DickBreath (207180) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:58AM (#47280979) Homepage
      Funny? Why oh why wasn't your post moded Insightful?

      A few decades ago the very existence of NSA was a secret. The CIA had a bad rep.

      Now the NSA has a bad rep. So it's time to wind down the importance of NSA and introduce a new sooper dooper sekrit spy agency that can do dirty tricks in the dark without oversight, and especially without pesky annoyances like laws and the constitution. Meanwhile the NSA and CIA can both get all the public bad press, criticism, and 'oversight' of pointy-haired congresscritters.
      • Re:Next! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by radja (58949) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:19AM (#47281143) Homepage

        Funny? probably some dutchmen at work here. NSB was the dutch nazi party just before and during WW2. In dutch 'NSBer' still means traitor or snitch.

        • dutch nazis, and other quasi-nazis are surely behind alot of BS in America....for sure...wont' argue that point

          I guess I applaud this law, however I *want* the authorities, with proper warrant, to be able to access any digital/analog communication

          if you were the victim you'd expect it

          • by NoKaOi (1415755)

            I *want* the authorities, with proper warrant, to be able to access any digital/analog communication

            if you were the victim you'd expect it

            Emphasis mine. That's really the key, isn't it...proper warrant? Having a proper warrant also means they have to show probable cause. This law is about defunding warrantless wiretapping. But, like was pointed out, it doesn't name the FBI. Did you know that the FBI is officially no longer a law enforcement agency, but is instead now an anti-terror agency? This pretty much means that the FBI can use it as an excuse to be the ones doing domestic warrantless wiretapping. However, even though this law may

            • Re:yes, dutch nazis (Score:4, Informative)

              by dnavid (2842431) on Friday June 20, 2014 @05:12PM (#47284881)

              I *want* the authorities, with proper warrant, to be able to access any digital/analog communication

              if you were the victim you'd expect it

              Emphasis mine. That's really the key, isn't it...proper warrant? Having a proper warrant also means they have to show probable cause. This law is about defunding warrantless wiretapping. But, like was pointed out, it doesn't name the FBI. Did you know that the FBI is officially no longer a law enforcement agency, but is instead now an anti-terror agency? This pretty much means that the FBI can use it as an excuse to be the ones doing domestic warrantless wiretapping. However, even though this law may just shuffle things around (even if it miraculously passes the senate), I see it as a Very Good Thing because it's a step in the right direction: Pushing back against blatant constitutional violations.

              Actually, the amendment doesn't defund warrantless wiretapping directly, at least as I read it. What it specifically states is "none of the funds made available by this Act may be used by an officer or employee of the United States to query a collection of foreign intelligence information acquired under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1881a) using a United States person identifier."

              My interpretation of that amendment is that nothing prohibits the NSA or the CIA from collecting that data, but it disallows them from directly requesting any information from that data tied directly to a US citizen. More specifically, it says that no one funded by that appropriations bill can do that. Since the data is collected by the NSA and its funding comes from that bill, it legally bars them from performing any similar query for any other agency as well.

              There are still a lot of loopholes that could be used to try to evade this amendment, assuming it passes, but it does seem to indicate that outside of the House committees that are directly involved with intelligence oversight, there is strong political will in both Democratic and Republican circles to curtail this type of activity. That's a necessary first step to making any long term changes. But it is only a first step.

          • dutch nazis, and other quasi-nazis are surely behind alot of BS in America

            But to the Dutch, all the nations are run by Nazis. In Dutch, the suffix "ation" is spelled "atie", and it rhymes with Yahtzee. German speakers watch Dutch TV and get confused when the news anchor mentions what sounds like "United Nazis", because natie (nation) and Nazi (National Socialist) are homophones. It also led me to think up the portmanteau "discriminazi", meaning one who discriminates against a particular class of people out of prejudice, because that's what the Dutch word for discrimination sounds

            • yeah, when I said "dutch nazis" I was meaning americans who have Dutch ancestory...many are nazis who were one of a large family chosen to go to America...sort of upper middle class colonialism

              they retain alot of the ideological similarities with nazis, and some still directly profit from ill gotten gains

              as to people who current live in The Netherlands, I have no cause to call them "nazis"

              the Dutch are not citizens...like the English, CAnadians, and others they are ***subjects*** of royalty

              Aristocracy is st

              • by tepples (727027)
                I'm not sure what you're getting at because the vast majority of UK subjects, those born in Britain to a British parent or naturalized in Britain, are officially called "British citizens".
      • by Rinikusu (28164)

        The next super secret spy agency will be a private contractor group that has ginormous interests in building profiles of internet users, their interests, their browsing habits, and will be able to convince everyone to use them without blinking an eye. They will then monitor, filter, and sell that data back to the US Government because some clause in the EULA will allow them to do so.

    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      Current trend is to privatize dirty work so it doesn't have to make government look bad and can't be easily asked to be audited.

      So NSC. National Security Company. Aka Whitewater, because what could possibly go wrong!

    • by tomhath (637240)
      Next is the election in November. The this issue quietly dies.
  • by skovnymfe (1671822) on Friday June 20, 2014 @08:58AM (#47280561)
    Clearly people want to be monitored at all times, they just haven't been convinced properly yet. And as a result of the monitoring that NSA done up to now, they already have a list of all the people who don't want to be monitored. They could just pay those people a visit. You know? Convince them properly. Or make them go away.
    • No, actually what the NSA needs to do is launch a PR campaign to tell us just why we need to be monitored. I'm thinking super bowl commercials, ads on the front page of newspapers, billboards, and a sticker on each banana sold. *grabs calculator* Let's see.... this should cost.... Well, I'll be. Exactly the same amount as what the House is cutting. Plus a billion dollars.

      • Re:Hm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DickBreath (207180) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:02AM (#47281009) Homepage
        The NSA would need a logo and branding for such a large advertising and PR campaign as you suggest.

        I know! How about Big Brother is Watching You! And the face should, of course, have a smile and a pleasant, re-assuring image.
        • Of course, the billboards with the logo would contain cameras to actually watch you.

          You wouldn't want the NSA to lie, would you?!!!

        • by dissy (172727)

          I know! How about Big Brother is Watching You! And the face should, of course, have a smile and a pleasant, re-assuring image.

          Even better: "The NSA - The only part of your government that actually listens!"

          As for the logo, once more 4chan has us covered
          http://i59.tinypic.com/2rngfq1... [tinypic.com]

        • by gweihir (88907)

          And maybe crush some "undesirables", you know, in its hand.

      • by gweihir (88907)

        I know just the slogan for that!

                    "Big Brother is watching you!"

        Of course, that my be copyrighted to one Orwell, G.

    • by timeOday (582209)

      Clearly people want to be monitored at all times, they just haven't been convinced properly yet.

      No, but there will be political hell to pay if there is another 9/11.

      • Black Swan (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Aqualung812 (959532) on Friday June 20, 2014 @02:01PM (#47283399)

        There WILL be another 9/11. This stuff happens, and it CAN NOT be 100% avoided.

        You can do some things that could help (hint: the issue with 9/11 wasn't a lack of info, but a lack of communication. We still have this problem regardless what the NSA does), but you can't stop it from ever happening.

        So, no matter what things you do to prevent 9/11, something like it will happen again. The Boston Marathon bombings, while much less severe, show that even with the super surveillance, people dedicated to cause death can do it, and always will be able to.

        What makes for more interesting discussion is if there are ways of preventing the root causes for wanting to cause death. Perhaps that can be more effective than ignoring what the cause is & trying to stop the effect?

        • Re:Black Swan (Score:5, Insightful)

          by gweihir (88907) on Friday June 20, 2014 @04:10PM (#47284457)

          There WILL be another 9/11. This stuff happens, and it CAN NOT be 100% avoided.

          It is also not a problem, unless you panic and cower in fear every time it happens. Or start to establish a totalitarian police and surveillance state. The right reaction is to just move on and show the attackers that they are pathetic. That is how you are resilient and strong as a country.

          People die every day and it sucks, but terrorism is way down on the list of unnatural causes.

          • We agree completely on this point.

  • I suspect that should this actually happen the NSA will just pull money from something else to fund their protection of honest, hard working Americans. Money is fungible, it moves easily.
    • by myth24601 (893486)

      If the law says they can't spend money on a program then they can't spend money on a program right?

      Also, isn't there a limit to how agencies can move funding around? If there isn't then why do we fight over weather to fund programs or not, just give them X amount and tell them to spend it how they see fit?

      • by N1AK (864906) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:44AM (#47281417) Homepage
        When the law said they couldn't do it in the first place and they did it, what makes you think asking them not to spend money on it would stop them ;)
        • by Tom (822)

          It just might work. Money is more important than laws these days.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Since when did the Law matter to this Administration?

  • From the news:

    "he amendment would block the NSA from using any of its funding from this Defense Appropriations Bill to conduct such warrantless searches."

    It only covers THIS appropriations bill. They'll just sneak funding into another one to make it up.

    You have to pay careful attention to the language these people use.

    " In addition, the amendment would prohibit the NSA from using its budget to mandate or request that private companies and organizations add backdoors to the encryption standards that are meant to keep you safe on the web."

    So, money that is NOT budgeted, as in part of planned spending, as in slush fund money, is fair game.

    Any time an amendment talks about what they cannot use particular money for, as opposed to simply prohibiting the action, it will be full of loopholes.

    When there is an amendment that prohibits the ACTION, then we'll have something to be happy about. Nothing in this amendment prohibits the spying.

    • From the news:

      "he amendment would block the NSA from using any of its funding from this Defense Appropriations Bill to conduct such warrantless searches."

      It only covers THIS appropriations bill. They'll just sneak funding into another one to make it up.

      You have to pay careful attention to the language these people use.

      " In addition, the amendment would prohibit the NSA from using its budget to mandate or request that private companies and organizations add backdoors to the encryption standards that are meant to keep you safe on the web."

      So, money that is NOT budgeted, as in part of planned spending, as in slush fund money, is fair game.

      Any time an amendment talks about what they cannot use particular money for, as opposed to simply prohibiting the action, it will be full of loopholes.

      When there is an amendment that prohibits the ACTION, then we'll have something to be happy about. Nothing in this amendment prohibits the spying.

      i want to mod you up so hard

      • by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:00AM (#47280991) Journal
        I'd give it an Overratted if had a point to spare.

        The Vietnam war didn't end, congress stopped funding it. Putting money into a slush fund doesn't suddenly make it legal to spend it on the defunded activity, just ask the Iran-contra guys. As has already been said the obvious loophole is that it names particular agencies, why coat the obvious with conspiratorial nonsense?
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:21AM (#47281155)

          Technically, the Vietnam War didn't START.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declaration_of_war_by_the_United_States

          The table below lists the five wars in which the United States has formally declared war against eleven foreign nations.
          War of 1812
          Mexican-American War
          Spanish-American War
          World War I
          World War II

          After WWII presidents just stopped asking congress to declare war for them and just 'sent troops'.

        • I'd give it an Overratted if had a point to spare. The Vietnam war didn't end, congress stopped funding it. Putting money into a slush fund doesn't suddenly make it legal to spend it on the defunded activity, just ask the Iran-contra guys. As has already been said the obvious loophole is that it names particular agencies, why coat the obvious with conspiratorial nonsense?

          Because these days it turns out more and more to not be nonsense. I think EmagGeek has a point that the language seems to leave open the possibility of the funding coming from other sources. In the days of secret interpretations of laws, I don't think that should be discounted.

          • The agency leadership isn't stupid. If they pull funding from other programs, the could get backlash from cutting other (presumably useful) activities, and when the public notices that the spying hasn't stopped, the next cuts will be even deeper. At some point congress would get collectively pissed off defund the agency completely.

            Americans tend to be complacent in the face of minor irritations, but when faced with a real threat/outrage they tend to go completely postal. Just ask the Imperial government
        • You know why Congress cut off funding to the South Vietnamese? They would be damned if Nixon would have anything positive in his legacy. They betrayed the South Vietnamese while the North still got its full funding from the Soviets. A scant few years later and the North broke the peace treaty and invaded.

          Fun fact: which was worse, Richard Nixon's abuse of federal power by ordering a break-in at Democratic Party HQ, or the IRS' abuse of federal power by Lois Lerner and her henchmen? Nixon knew what he di

    • It only covers THIS appropriations bill. They'll just sneak funding into another one to make it up.

      That's because new law automagically supersedes old law. And since an appropriations bill is, in fact, a law, next year's appropriations bill will automagically supersede this bill.

      Of course, realistically, this bill will go nowhere, since the Senate doesn't seem terribly inclined to rein in the NSA.

      • That's not exactly clear to me. The voting for this bill seemed to be a combination of almost all the Democrats and a good percentage but not majority of Republicans. That's the kind of thing that would work in the Senate.

        The thing about this is that it's the wrong bill. What needs to be done is to pass legislation that actually makes these activities illegal, including evisceration of the Patriot Act and updating of the Electronic Communications Privacy act, and definition of 'devices' such as laptops and

        • by cdrudge (68377) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:13AM (#47281099) Homepage

          But it's soooo much easier to just not fund it currently. It shows that they demand accountability and to stop spying on Americans...this week. It holds open the possibility to fund it later by slipping it in as part of some larger budget bill. You know, when it's politically more advantageous to "stop terrorism", "save American lives", or "think of the children".

          If they make it illegal now, they'd have to go through the hassle of making it legal later, then still have to fund it through another bill.

        • What needs to be done is to pass legislation that actually makes these activities illegal

          Which can be superseded by...you guessed it...a new law later. Just like this one can be superseded by a new law (read: new budget bill).

          The only conceivable way to make this go away permanently is a Supreme Court Ruling that this sort of thing is unconstitutional. If you're really interested in making the problem go away, that's what you need to be bending your efforts toward - test cases in two different Appeal di

    • by ZenMonk (1967080) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:57AM (#47280969)

      Bah. Congress can prohibit ACTIONS until they're blue in the face, but those prohibitions rely on an executive branch that is willing to enforce them. This executive in particular has a history of declining to enforce laws that it doesn't like. (Yes, Bush did it too with his "signing statements". Two wrongs don't make a right.)

      The true power of Congress is the power of the purse. If they don't want the executive doing something, the surest way to prevent it is to deny them the money to do it. This amendment is about the strongest form of prohibition they can make, short of cutting funding for NSA entirely (which would be pretty stupid).

      Agreed it doesn't prevent them from doing it anyway with money from other sources, but then that money can't be used for whatever they were planning to do with it before. At least Congress is trying to do something about it.

    • by Xest (935314)

      Agreed, I'd have thought if they actually wanted to stop the NSA doing this sort of thing or be more transparent about it then they'd just shut down the secret courts.

      Altering a single budget seems to be a distraction at best.

    • No wonder the approval rating of Congress is so low. They shamefully vote to extend the Patriot Act with 303 votes last month and this month they pass this toothless piece of distraction. This is a political stunt to try and mollify Liberty activists and not anything meaningful. They need to vote against the unconstitutional provisions of the Patriot Act and overturn any provisions that appear to give the government broad authority to force companies to hand over telecommunications data.
      • by ganjadude (952775)
        obama signed all the patriot extentions as well, for the life of me I cant understand why obama is not considered just as low as congress by now
        • by bigpat (158134)
          Congress as an institution which contains people from around the country that people have never heard of and they didn't vote for. Obama on the other hand a lot of people voted for directly... I agree that Obama's approval ratings should be low since he has flip flopped on some major campaign positions like Obamacare and seems to be supporting some very unpopular policies like warrantless surveilance on Americans that he had previously opposed as a candidate and US Senator.
    • Not to mention the Senate can weaken the bill, or strengthen it. Which way will they go?

    • by NoKaOi (1415755)

      When there is an amendment that prohibits the ACTION

      There is. Specifically, the 4th one. It's the executive branch that's tasked with enforcement, but since they're the ones violating it congress really only has 2 ways to enforce it: Cut funding or impeach the president*.

      *In the last 150 years, presidential impeachment only comes from getting a blowjob, not from committing crimes or blatant constitutional violations. In order for the president to be impeached, James Clapper would have to say he gave a blowjob to the president. Since that's unlikely to ha

  • This is good. We should not pay to have our products secretly weakened.
    • by bigpat (158134)
      It would be good, except that the legislation itself has a backdoor and doesn't actually stop anything.
    • I strongly agree! We should NOT pay to have our products' security secretly weakened.

      The government should do it for free*.

      (* just like 'free' public roads, public education, and many other 'free' things from the government)
  • Pablum For Peons (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jim Sadler (3430529) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:06AM (#47280605)
    It has been known for decades that the CIA has developed sources of income that are automated and unstoppable. Various agents were charged with setting up businesses that paid into the CIA on a regular basis and it was so covert that if the agent and his superior both dropped dead the income continues. For example a car dealership may pay a "supposed loan" back to a bank once a month for 30 years. Even if the business is sold the payments will continue. The agent that set it up need no longer be involved. By repeating this process with investments and covert accounts the budget of the CIA could never be revealed with only the tax dollars known as income. One would imagine the NSA has done something similar. Such projects help to shield new weapons development as the public expenses do not report the excess income and weapons development can continue without foreign scrutiny.
    • by swb (14022)

      I always wondered why the CIA didn't just back a truck up to the bureau of engraving and drive away with 45' semi filled with currency. Or operate their own printing plants.

      They probably use a ton of cash in covert operations anyway and @ 12.5 cents per $100 it's a hell of a lot cheaper. Given that M1 is 2.7 trillion and most of this would be spent overseas anyway where it would have little inflationary impact it seems like a cheap way to do dirty business.

      • by alen (225700)

        you assume it never happened
        for all you know there is a mini money printer at langley

        • by swb (14022)

          Doing US currency right from new isn't easy, making an in-house operation at any scale tough to do, although I'm sure there's some kind of in-house counterfeiting operation to do small volumes of foreign currency.

          Circumventing accounting at the printing plant would also be tough and risk a lot of exposure.

          I'd guess that the easier way to do it is to hijack "old bills" on their way to destruction, now that I think about it, especially if they were destined for overseas use where their worn status would make

    • by Tom (822)

      Car dealership, you're so cute. The CIA was heavily involved in drug and weapons dealing. I'm not certain if they still are, but that they were is in public records. And not in a small way, either.

  • As the article said, the FBI is missing from this list, and this is only a fix for requiring companies to create back doors. The NSA can, and will, continue to find and exploit unintentional backdoors and security holes. We still need to encrypt everything.
  • by rmdingler (1955220) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:09AM (#47280629)
    I'm keenly aware this statement by the US House can be circumvented in some fashion. These folks they're dealing with are secret agencies.

    At the very least the representatives still have to pay me some lip service. Hell, some of them may have retained the ability to care.

    Either way, it's a small victory for the Republic.

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:42AM (#47280861)

      its not a small victory. its the APPEARANCE of one, which is worse, because it will wrongfully quiet down a lot of complainers. which is all its intended to do.

      there is 0.000000% chance that we will get our freedoms back, at least peacefully in this v1.0 government style we have created over the centuries. 1.0 worked fine when tech was stone knives and bearskins. now, 1.0 is outdated (and neutered!) and so, whatever our system comes up with, its a lie and its bullshit.

      why, people, do you continue to give hope where its not deserved or earned?

      • its not a small victory. its the APPEARANCE of one, which is worse, because it will wrongfully quiet down a lot of complainers. which is all its intended to do.

        Welcome to the United States of America, where perception is everything and nothing is what it seems.

        • It's pretty easy to be a doomsayer.

          Finding things to be grateful for reflects a much rarer optimism in basic human goodness than does an eternal penchant in identifying things to be hateful for.

          You're posting wisely on Slashdot... take the high, hard road. It's not over til we say it's over.

    • by DickBreath (207180) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:12AM (#47281091) Homepage
      Yes. This can be circumvented. If these people can get around the clear wording of the constitution, then they can do anything.

      Black is white. Up is down. Secret courts can issue secret overly broad warrants to secretly spy on everyone all the time. People can be secretly compelled to secretly hand over their secret keys and keep this a secret. People can be compelled to help spy on you and keep this a secret. People can be secretly arrested, and taken to secret prisons. We have secret trials with secret evidence. Defendants are now not even allowed access to the secret evidence against them. I thought I had heard everything when a government official said that their interpretation of the law was secret. (I'm sure they were thinking this keeps the enemy from knowing.)

      So yes, these people can go on with business as usual. All they need is a hand waving rationalization to make it all okay.
    • by Etherwalk (681268)

      I'm keenly aware this statement by the US House can be circumvented in some fashion. These folks they're dealing with are secret agencies.

      At the very least the representatives still have to pay me some lip service. Hell, some of them may have retained the ability to care.

      Either way, it's a small victory for the Republic.

      Forget the lip service. Just forget it. When you get involved in power politics at the level you're talking about, what happens *in the meeting* is what matters, and what you talk about outside the meeting is the window dressing.

      Personalities change when you go into the back room. So do goals. People beg, borrow, steal, lie, blackmail, and it's all about what you can do for me, what I can do for you, what we can deliver, how we can ensure goal X gets done, and goal X isn't what we tell the people outsid

  • Moving money (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dishwasha (125561) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:14AM (#47280657)

    I wholeheartedly support this initiative of shifting money from a known three letter entity to a different unknown three letter entity that will now conduct our surveillance state in complete secret.

    • by shaitand (626655)
      It's not actually the government asshatry that concerns me. I mean it's not cool but it isn't going away... ever. But a government needs a healthy fear of it's citizens and a government that isn't afraid of the rabble is a terrible and frightening thing indeed. So yes, I for one do welcome a return to the government hiding in shadows doing illicit things when opposed to one that feels its citizens are powerless and it can openly do illicit things.

      It's people who don't understand that government must fear th
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No other three letter agency has the capability. CIA, FBI, and DIA don't have budgets even remotely close to the NSA. The US moved to SIGINT back in the late 90s and put most of the resources there. Hoever, I am not sure how much defunding will help. The infrastructure is already build and operating...this will just make the NSA let go a few contractors and continue operating. They need to pass a bill that dismantles the Patriot Act.

      • The US moved to SIGINT back in the late 90s and put most of the resources there.

        If we're spending so much on SIGINT, then why can't we just send a Ctrl+C [wikipedia.org] to warrantless wiretaps and adding backdoors to software?

  • Here's what I don't get. From what I understand, the NSA is not directly answerable to Congress - they're indirectly answerable through their parent agency, the Department of Defense, but they themselves are not answerable to Congress. What's stopping them from outwardly agreeing to Congress's regulations (assuming they pass) but inwardly ignoring them and continuing to do what they've been doing for years?

    • by PRMan (959735)
      And LIE to Congress?!? They would NEVER do that...
      • Why would anyone bother to LIE to Congress when you can just PAY them instead?

        Haven't you heard, congress will do anything, and I mean ANYTHING for money. They don't even make much of a pretense of representing the people any more.
    • The Department of Defense is supposed to control them. This means that the Department of Defense (that answers to the president of the USA) doesn't object to anything they are doing (since they are required to know what the NSA is doing, ignorance is no excuse). This means the President of the USA approves everything the NSA is doing.
    • by fnj (64210)

      Here's what I don't get. From what I understand, the NSA is not directly answerable to Congress - they're indirectly answerable through their parent agency, the Department of Defense, but they themselves are not answerable to Congress. What's stopping them from outwardly agreeing to Congress's regulations (assuming they pass) but inwardly ignoring them and continuing to do what they've been doing for years?

      Pssst. This is a bill of APPROPRIATIONS. As such, like any other appropriations bill, it does not tell

  • Is warrant-less surveillance of the 123 rat bastards who voted against this.

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:55AM (#47280951) Homepage Journal
    I predict a number of congressmen will soon get caught attempting to give handies in airport bathrooms, browsing web sites that cater to people who like to dress up as nuns and have their feet rubbed with dill pickles, or have their bizarre fascination with the genitalia of young goats* revealed. Funding will be restored shortly thereafter.

    * You know who you are

    • by alphatel (1450715) *

      I predict a number of congressmen will soon get caught attempting to give handies in airport bathrooms...

      * You know who you are

      You mean someone knows who they are.

  • by tompaulco (629533) on Friday June 20, 2014 @09:57AM (#47280971) Homepage Journal
    Who needs funding when you can just break into a random person's house on the pretense of a drug raid, steal all of their stuff, auction it off, and then later say, "My bad"?
  • by nimbius (983462) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:05AM (#47281045) Homepage
    Taking a break from repealing obamacare and re-affirming "in god we trust" on the currency, Its hard to imagine Republicans are doing anything in the interest of their constituents. Republicans under bush authorized and evangelized this warrantless wiretapping. shit, they even passed retroactive immunity for telecom companies forced to do it. And now after 2 terms of sitting on their obstructionist do-nothing arses they've suddenly gotten around to saving america from their monster? Give me a break.

    We have to have some form of populist legislation, anything really. We cant have gay marriage, immigration reform, tax reform, campaign finance reform, gun crontrol, climate change policy, or minimum wage because we as the republican party are strapped inexorably to a vocal minority of elderly bible thumpers ginned up on glen beck and sean hannity who have loudly stated, "Moderates arent allowed or we will end you politically." Every issue facing americans is toxic to us so the best we can do is dial down the crazy on a policy we voted for and approved and hope its enough to get us into the whitehouse in 2016. And the sad fact is, no amount of wayback machine legislation is going to help. Once the republican party quietly dropped immigration reform they basically conceded to drop any chance at the presidency.
  • by Bruinwar (1034968) <bruinwar AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:36AM (#47281333)
    Are not a lot of these people the same people that helped pass the Patriot Act? So now they are attempting to de-fund the Patriot Act? Did we not debate this right here on slashdot way back when that the Patriot Act would unleash all this surveillance? Why not just pass the Patriot Act II & make it illegal again? Better yet, how about a vote to repeal the Patriot Act?
  • Wrong bill. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday June 20, 2014 @10:38AM (#47281363)

    They should made it illegal for companies to be gagged from making public comment when served with such warrants. They're a violation of the first amendment at the very least.

    Freedom of speech. You silence me and make it illegal to even say I was silenced... how is that not a violation?

  • as are our elections. Carefully calculated to project an illusion.

    Cut NSA's funding for surveillance? How much does it cost the NSA to send letters demanding access and secrecy? What about the cost of maintaining all those servers and huge databases? Chump change. They'll unscrew a few lightbulbs and start stocking the employee restrooms with cheaper toilet paper.

    Hold elections every two, four, or six years to elect politicians to run the government? A great way to give the masses the illusion that th

  • US House of Representatives Votes To Cut Funding To NSA

    Not sure if this a solution to... what? One can cut to one's heart content, but without structural reforms, the problems that plague NSA will remain there. So, we cut funding, and all we get is to cripple a vital organization that needs to function well, without fixing the things that makes it not function well. Funding is not the root cause. It is not a monetary problem, but a political one.

  • I'm sure the NSA et al have shell corporations in order to fund all the stuff they won't admit to doing.

    And I'm sure the dragnet of surveillance allows them to do some pretty lucrative insider trading.

    The shadow government will be well funded, and will just go further underground and it will be business as usual, and the politicians get to keep acting like they're in charge.

    You know, it's pretty sad when you more or less have to assume all of the tropes from movies are actually happening. Increasingly it f

  • by whistlingtony (691548) on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:25PM (#47282447)

    Ok, ignoring all the armchair generals who are saying How It Should Be...

    This is a good thing. It's not the RIGHT thing. Ahem. "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized" Frankly, warrantless wiretapping IS illegal, per the US Constitution.

    I don't blame the government. I blame us. There's less than 50% voter turnout. People ramble about the ammo box, but we haven't even TRIED the ballot box yet, and apparently we can't be bothered to. This is OUR fault.

    That the House of Reps actually did this is an amazing step in the right direction. Everyone whines that it's not enough, but you NEVER get what you want in one go. It's always a slow series of steps. It's a continual fight.

    Anyway, just a note... Dems: 158 yes, 29 no. Repubs: 135 yes, 94 no. Many more Dems voted for this. Think on that next time someone (possibly you) trots out how much Dems love big government and spending, and hate freedom. Sigh... The really sad thing is that there are no Independant votes on this, because there are no Independant reps, because you bastards can't be bothered to vote. :(

    • As a Canadian I do find it fascinating. So many Americans feel they need their guns to protect their rights and freedoms and are very vocal about that, but your rights and freedoms are disappearing at a rapid pace and the guns don't seem to be doing you much good.

      Apparently the 2nd amendment is sacrosanct, but the 4th is disposable. I wonder which one will be next?

      • by mark_reh (2015546)

        That's because the only freedom they care about is their freedom to buy guns (and its bastard child, the "stand your ground" laws that allow you to use deadly force against anyone you feel threatened by). For some reason that one trumps all others.

        There is a lot of overlap between the hard core 2nd amendment defenders and the people who would like to trash the separation of church and state and turn the US into a theocracy, not unlike the Taliban in Afghanistan.

        And further overlap among those who have stic

    • "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized" Frankly, warrantless wiretapping IS illegal, per the US Constitution.

      The per the US Constitution part is debatable, nothing you quoted makes it so.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K... [wikipedia.org]

      I agree with Justice Black, that the Fourth Amendment was not intended to protect your privacy. It was intended to prevent the government from physically intruding on your life. It would have been worded to include eavesdropping if it was meant to be. IMO, if you want privacy protections you need specific laws or new amendments.
      If you read the Fourth as some kind of generic privacy protection th

  • by Scot Seese (137975) on Friday June 20, 2014 @12:51PM (#47282665)

    - cut off the blood supply to the tumor.

  • "NSA gets 'Creative Accounting' lesson from the Experts"

  • Is John Poindexter available? He has experience not only with information awareness but also self-funding operations.

  • They can just get their black money selling arms to Iran. Worked well enough last time...

I find you lack of faith in the forth dithturbing. - Darse ("Darth") Vader

Working...