On Wednesday, July 24, the United States House of Representatives defeated a measure to limit the amount of surveillance the National Security agency aka the NSA. The surveillance program, which has come under intense scrutiny under recent weeks, because of allegations from an ex- NSA employee, Edward Snowden that the program is spying on United States citizens, and collecting records on all United States citizens’ phone calls.
The house bill which was produced by a bi partisan group of representatives ranging from liberal Democrat John Conyers (D-MI) to the co- sponsor of the bill, a conservative by the name of Justin Amash (R-MI). The bill which was brought to the house floor on Wednesday night, failed by a vote of 205-217.
The NSA, has been the focus of both political parties recently, as it was revealed by Edward Snowden, an ex-NSA employee that the NSA was using the program not only to track terrorist in the United States planning terrorist attacks, but also to collect and record the records of every United States citizens. The agency, has asked and got permission from companies like Verizon, and sprint for the records of their customers data.
The bill, which was defeated in large part due to intense lobbying efforts against the measure from the White house and members on the house and senate intelligence committee who say the Amash amendment would harm the fight against terrorism by limiting the amount of surveillance that the NSA could collect on phone calls. In an effort to make sure that the bill would not pass, house and senate intelligence made a push on the days leading up to the vote and circulated letters criticizing Justin Amashe’s amendement saying that it would restrict the spying program and prevent the NSA from effectively doing it’s job in preventing terrorist attacks.
Co-sponsor, Justin Amash, said he wanted to prevent people who were innocent and had nothing to do with terrorism, from being “indiscriminately target by the NSA” and the collection of data by the program for storage in facilities across the country. In a similar effort to help pass the bill supporter of the NSA surveillance program, Michigan state representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) said ” Have 12 years gone by and our memories faded so badly that we forgot what happened on September 11″? The representatives’ statement in reference to the program’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks on American cities.