Calls Feinstein bill “a joke”
Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the man who authored the original PATRIOT Act of 2001, says that the House and Senate Intelligence committees, which are supposed to operate as oversight watchdogs of government spy agencies, have become “cheerleaders” for the NSA.
In an interview with The Hill, Sensenbrenner chided the leaders of the committees, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), saying that “Instead of putting the brakes on overreaches, they’ve been stepping on the gas,”
Sensenbrenner also said that the legislation proposed by Feinstein to restrict the NSA is “a joke,” and that it pales in comparison to his own bill, which now has 107 co-sponsors.
Feinstein’s view is essentially “if you like your NSA, you can keep it.” the 18 term Wisconsin Republican noted.
Sensenbrenner has also called for the firing and prosecution of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, after he lied to Congress about the NSA’s spying program.
Unlike his own legislation, which would ensure an end to bulk collection of communications data, Feinstein and Rogers’ bill essentially rubber stamps the mass spying program, while making meaningless “transparency” reforms.
“There is no limit – apparently, according to the NSA – on what they can collect. And that has got to be stopped,” he said during the interview, pinning further blame squarely on the Judiciary Committee, which paved the way in 2006 for the NSA to gain secret approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to use provision 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records on all U.S. phone calls.
“I don’t think the oversight was vigorously done by the Judiciary Committee,” Sensenbrenner said. “When I was running the Judiciary Committee, it was being vigorously done.”
While Sensenbrenner’s legislation would no doubt do more to rein in the NSA than the Feinstein bill, his opinion of whistleblower Edward Snowden outlines the fact that his ultimate goal is not to further empower the American people against government surveillance.
“He’s a criminal,” Sensenbrenner says of Snowden. “I believe that the Russians, in showing good faith, ought to return him to face the music.” he told reporters.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.