The establishment and deep state colluded today to expand existing surveillance powers by beefing up and reauthorizing section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. There was hope that a liberty-driven amendment would curtail powers of intelligence agencies to warrantlessly scoop up Americans emails and other data, but that was shot down, and power hungry freedom haters like Paul Ryan took a victory lap.
Proponents of the law say it keeps us safe because it targets bad guys overseas, which it does: Several terror plots have been thwarted because of it.
The reason there was such a vocal, bipartisan upswell is because bad people in far away places can be surveilled without compromising the Fourth Amendment by putting Americans in the crosshairs.
This coalition was asking for something quite simple. If you have a problem, you need to investigate someone, and if you suspect something bad will happen if you don't: Get a warrant.
Problematic "about" collection was stopped last year by the NSA because the secret FISA court was appalled communications were netted that weren't to or from a suspected individual, but rather about that person.
So if you have a hot piece of gossip about that guy Sergei at your gym, just mentioning his name can get all of your emails and digital chats scooped up like Haagen Dazs, and horn dog intelligence minions are now reading your unmentionables. That about collection could restart, for another six years. Imagine the programs and technological nets they can build in that amount of time.
We don't know how many Americans get thrown under this foreign collection bus because these programs are as transparent as wet cement.
Let's hope the Senate does their job and filibusters this thing on the back of the last few stewards of liberty left on Capitol Hill. Today the House failed, and at a time when we have grave concerns about the FBI and other intelligence agencies obtaining damning information, we should be more vigilant than ever to protect our eroding civil liberties.