Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Thursday, January 18, 2018

After years of tangling with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), civil liberties activists seemed to have her onboard with their fight to curtail the vast warrantless surveillance program exposed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. They were optimistic Tuesday when she headed into a major vote over whether to impose new restrictions on the government monitoring. But after a spirited nail-biter of a floor fight, Feinstein broke with privacy advocates from the right and left to cast a crucial vote in favor of leaving the program largely unchanged for the next six years. Feinstein's retreat back to a hawkish posture on Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) gave supporters of the status quo the vote they needed to quell a growing movement in the Senate for more privacy protections. She was one of 18 Democrats and one independent who caucuses with Democrats who voted to shut down consideration of major changes to the program

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Progressive activists are now accusing those lawmakers of betrayal. The friction among Democrats over the FISA program is sure to endure through the year as the party's factions battle over the approach they need to take to win back power. Many of the Democrats who joined Feinstein in voting against consideration of substantial restrictions on the monitoring represent swing states, where voters are uneasy about warnings from law enforcement that new restrictions on the program will make Americans more vulnerable to terrorist attacks.

"With their votes today, these Democrats have ceded tremendous power to the executive branch to engage in mass and warrantless surveillance -- a power that history has shown time and again is ripe for abuse," read a statement from Demand Progress, a progressive advocacy group with 2 million members, posted on Twitter. "This expanded surveillance power is particularly troubling in the hands of the Trump administration."

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When Democrats are given an opportunity to reform the post-9/11 surveillance state they should take it. Those opportunities don't come along often. The incentive is always fear-driven expansion of these powers.

#1 | Posted by rcade at 2018-01-18 09:02 AM | Reply

Replace 'Democrats are' with 'Congress is' and I'll lend my support to the statement.

#2 | Posted by Avigdore at 2018-01-18 10:24 AM | Reply

When it comes to FISA: there is a trend of weird last minute indecision which breaks toward upholding the status quo. In 2014 it was Bill Nelson casting a pivotal vote against NSA reform, leaving his staffers to initially believe that his vote was erroneously accounted. (www.theatlantic.com).

#3 | Posted by GOnoles92 at 2018-01-18 09:28 PM | Reply

People's strong partisan allegiances are misguided because the policy differences between Democrats and Republicans get smaller every year. Not the rhetoric, just the policies that actually matter.

#4 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-01-19 05:47 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 2

All Americans should be concerned about the surveillance state that threatens our liberties. I am disappointed that neither major party seems particularly worried about our right to be left alone.

#5 | Posted by cbob at 2018-01-19 09:44 AM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

I totally agree on doing away with it. I think both rcade and avigdore are actually right. But just hypothesizing here, after Trumpkins spouted off that a good terror attack would save the GOP this year - if you were voting and worried about the fact he is actually RIGHT and you as a Democrat voted to end the surveillance the fallout would be harsh. I frankly don't know how someone like Dianne Feinstein could actually vote for it at this point in time...

#6 | Posted by GalaxiePete at 2018-01-19 10:42 AM | Reply

Two heads of the same coin.

#7 | Posted by fresno500 at 2018-01-19 08:16 PM | Reply

More hand wringing by the perpetually uninformed. "With their votes today, these Democrats have ceded tremendous power to the executive branch to engage in mass and warrantless surveillance -- a power that history has shown time and again is ripe for abuse ..." is but one example. The power was ceded decades ago and it hasn't proven to be as subject to abuse as the Chicken Little's claim.

So, become informed.

The Merits of Supporting 702 Reauthorization (Despite Worries About Trump and the Rule of Law) www.lawfareblog.com

Summary: The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017 www.lawfareblog.com

#8 | Posted by et_al at 2018-01-19 09:26 PM | Reply

To stop terror attacks stop invading and destroying other countries. Other people don't like it when you kill their families. They immediately become prepared to sacrifice themselves to take revenge for their families.

There are 80 people in prison in the mainland that were goaded/threatened by the FBI into joining a fake plot invented by the FBI and then arrested. A big show for the public, which destroys more lives unnecessarily.

#9 | Posted by bayviking at 2018-01-20 06:50 AM | Reply

I believe that in time we will find that the real abuse of the 702 provisions was by the Obama administration.

#10 | Posted by sawdust at 2018-01-20 08:23 PM | Reply

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