In response to President Obama's half-measure proposal to rein in the NSA (an attempt to alter his probable legacy as the President who exponentially expanded government surveillance), U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA, 1), who, as Washington state's only member of the judiciary committee, has led the national charge (in response to the Snowden revelations) to curtail all this thoughtcrime policy, issued the following statement this morning:
I welcome the President’s recognition that action is needed to ensure that Americans’ right to privacy is preserved in the digital age. While the President has outlined the steps the Administration is taking to reform the government’s surveillance programs, his measures are limited. Congressional action is still needed to effect meaningful changes to our nation’s surveillance and privacy laws, including some that the President called for today.
I have long said that the bulk collection of Americans’ data by the U.S. government must end, and that a more far-reaching and comprehensive overhaul is needed. That is why I became an original cosponsor of the USA Freedom Act, a bill that would rein in the indiscriminate collection of the communications records of millions of Americans, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC.
As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress to pass meaningful reform to our government’s surveillance programs. The time is now to move forward on legislation that will restore the American public’s trust and protect both our national security interests and our civil liberties.”
Loud statement from DelBene, but it lacks some details about how, specifically, the president's proposal is limited. We asked for details on how she would go further.
Her spokesman Viet Shelton points out that Obama's proposal wouldn't actually end the bulk collection of telecommunications metadata like DelBene's USA Freedom act would. Obama just restructures the program—making it possible with warrants— but the surveillance and bulk collection of ordinary Americans will still happen. DelBene's bill would end the bulk collection of metadata.