Friday, 20 June 2014
United States House of Representatives Backs Limits on NSA Spying
WASHINGTON – House libertarians and liberals banded together for a surprise win in their fight against the secretive National Security Agency, securing support for new curbs on government spying a year after leaker Edward Snowden's disclosures about the bulk collection of millions of Americans' phone records.
The Republican-led House voted 293-123 late Thursday to add the limits to a $570 billion defense spending bill. The provision, which faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, would bar warrantless collection of personal online information and prohibit access for the NSA and CIA into commercial tech products.
Proponents of the measure described them as government "backdoors" that give intelligence agencies an opening to Americans' private data.
"The American people are sick of being spied on," said Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who joined with libertarian Republicans and liberal Democrats to push the measure.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, railed against "this dragnet spying on millions of Americans."
The House was expected to pass the defense bill Friday. It still must be reconciled with a still-to-be written Senate version.
In the showdown between privacy and security, the House earlier this year overwhelmingly passed the USA Freedom Act that would codify a proposal made in January by President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to end the NSA's practice of collecting and storing the "to and from" records of nearly every American landline telephone call under a program that searched the data for connections to terrorist plots abroad.