After the PRISM leaks and the immense uproar it results in, the lawmakers in the U.S. Congress tabled a bill, proposing to defund NSA’s phone surveillance program. However, much to the disappointment of privacy activists, the bill has failed by a narrow margin.
One of the key reasons for the failure of the bill is simply that the Obama administration put all its efforts into supporting NSA and its surveillance programs. It was tabled by Justin Amash and John Conyers, who joined hands to put NSA on the stand over the shocking leaks made by Snowden.
Sadly enough, the bill was able to muster 205 votes while those opposing it numbered in 217. The bill was meant only to renegotiate the methods through which NSA carries out its surveillance of phone records. The fact that Congress was unable to make any changes even on an issue this small, goes on to show that the intelligence agency has a huge influence, both within Congress and in the administration.
Those who opposed the bill expressed outrage even when it was tabled, alleging that Amash and Conyers were toying with anger of the masses. Many also used the usual pretext of national security, citing how such a bill would undermine counter-terrorism operations.
Despite such arguments, it is at least encouraging to note that the bill was beaten by a narrow margin. According to Amash, “It’s not a partisan, it’s about the American people versus the elites in Washington. And what the government is currently doing is collecting the phone records without suspicion of all Americans – every single person in the United States. That’s a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.”
One hopes that given the popular support this bill mustered in the Congress, members would continue to tackle the problem until a decision is made in line with the wishes of the American masses.
Courtesy: Washington Post