Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) successfully fought to get an amendment attached to the Defense spending bill that “would prevent money from going to the [NSA] agency’s blanket collection of telephone call records.” The vote is expected today.
Score one for the libertarians. Finally.
The White House was none too happy about the “Amash Amendment” and released this statement “we oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools. This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process.”
On Tuesday, the NSA community scrambled to save the program, holding four hours of “top secret” briefings for House members. “The head of the NSA, Gen. Keith B. Alexander, urged House lawmakers during the two classified briefings to oppose an amendment from Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., that would defund the NSA’s blanket collection of telephone records.”
Amash stood strong against the NSA, an aide to the congressman said:
“I’ve never heard of an official of that stature, in the middle of the night, being told to hustle down to the Hill for a four-hour long briefing,” the aide said. “The more information members have about the NSA surveillance program, the more unease they have about the program’s operation.”
The Congressman attended the Q & A session as well as all of the other NSA briefings on the hill. “He has attended every briefing on the NSA surveillance program he has been invited to, and none of it has changed his mind,” the aide said. “It’s had the opposite effect.”