June 22, 2016
Yesterday, I published a post warning about an amendment to be put up for a vote in the U.S. Senate that would severely harm the civil liberties of American citizens. I was very disappointed to see an unusually low amount of reads on that particular post, which came in well below average despite being such an important issue.
Well it turns out John McCain’s amendment 4787 came up for a vote earlier today, and it was stopped by one vote. Yes, by one vote.
So what’s at stake? Let’s review an excerpt from yesterday’s post, Republican Senators Use Orlando Shooting to Push for Increased Government Spying Powers:
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a vote late on Monday to expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s authority to use a secretive surveillance order without a warrant to include email metadata and some browsing history information.
The amendment would broaden the FBI’s authority to use so-called National Security Letters to include electronic communications transaction records such as time stamps of emails and the emails’ senders and recipients.
NSLs do not require a warrant and are almost always accompanied by a gag order preventing the service provider from sharing the request with a targeted user.
Sounds pretty important, but no one seemed to care yesterday. Fortunately, the vote (barely) went the right way, but Mitch McConnell switched his vote to NO at the end just so that he could regroup and push for another vote.