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Invoking Orlando, Senate Republicans Set Up Vote To Expand FBI Spying (reuters.com) 660

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a vote late on Monday to expand the FBI's authority to use a secretive surveillance order without a warrant to include email metadata and some browsing history information. The move, made via an amendment to a criminal justice appropriations bill, is an effort by Senate Republicans to respond to last week's mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub after a series of measures to restrict guns offered by both parties failed on Monday. Privacy advocates denounced the effort, saying it seeks to exploit a mass shooting in order to expand the government's digital spying powers. 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. The amendment filed Monday would also make permanent a provision of the USA Patriot Act that allows the intelligence community to conduct surveillance on "lone wolf" suspects who do not have confirmed ties to a foreign terrorist group. A vote is expected no later than Wednesday, McConnell's office said. Last week, FBI Director James Comey said he is "highly confident that [the Orlando shooter] was radicalized at least in part through the internet."
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Invoking Orlando, Senate Republicans Set Up Vote To Expand FBI Spying

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  • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:08AM (#52358393)

    The Democrats want to take our guns (totalitarianism); the Republicans want to spy on us (also totalitarianism). Can't one goddamn politician react appropriately (by recognizing that embracing totalitarianism means the terrorists WIN), for once?!

    • by AntronArgaiv ( 4043705 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:20AM (#52358471)

      Hard to argue with that statement.

      I am sick and tired of our elected representatives passing laws like this and the USA PATRIOT ACT, claiming they "make us safer".

      It's easy to pass these, hard to repeal them. We as a country are going to be living with this erosion of our rights for years to come.

      • by AntronArgaiv ( 4043705 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:27AM (#52358527)

        Oh, and didn't the FBI investigate the Orlando shooter TWICE, and found nothing to justify further interest? So, how would passing this amendment have prevented Orlando?

        • by Desler ( 1608317 )

          But...but...but... Terrists!!!!

        • by Bob the Super Hamste ( 1152367 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:51AM (#52358729) Homepage
          That is what gets me in all of these cases. In almost every one the government really screwed the pooch. We were told by the Russians [reuters.com] to be on the look out for the Boston bombers but we fucked that one up. The mastermind of the Paris attacks was featured as pig fucker of the month [telegraph.co.uk] in Daesh's monthly magazine. The Orlando shooter was investigated by the FBI a few times and supposedly was reported by a gun shop owner for suspicious behavior [cbsnews.com] attempting to buy ammo in bulk and body armor. So instead of the government doing their fucking job and actively investigating these people that really seem to need a closer look they instead seek to take away rights from everyone else.
      • My take from all of this is that we're not in any danger of having any restrictions on guns passed, never-mind anything outlandish like having guns outlawed. A large percentage of the public would be literally up in arms about it, even in the aftermath of a massive tragedy.

        In the meantime, though, we're definitely having our rights eroded by these expansions of invasive domestic spying. It's far more my concern at the moment than anything to do with loss of rights to firearms.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Opportunist ( 166417 )

      Why do you think that the two flavors of The Party would be different from each other except for, well, artificial flavoring?

    • by Fire_Wraith ( 1460385 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:37AM (#52358605)
      I's not necessarily fair to say that all Republicans are for more FBI/etc domestic spying - the Libertarian wing of the party certainly isn't. The leadership is though, and in fairness too, so are some Democrats. That said, the right wing does tend to be more sympathetic to law enforcement/authoritarian stuff that doesn't involve taking rich peoples' money - they're inclined to support the cops. The left wing has its nanny-state types too, but also tends to not fall immediately on the side of law enforcement.

      As for the other side of things, I think it's a bit exaggerated. Not all Democrats are for a complete ban on guns (which would involve repealing the second amendment) - I'd hazard to say they're a minority, and certainly a minority among elected Democrats. Most of the push is for greater controls and restrictions, which shouldn't be unreasonable - and yet it is, apparently, even for minor ones. I'm a gun owner, and I like going to the range, but it seems ridiculous to me that there's more regulation on operating a vehicle than there is on operating a deadly weapon, or that if I want to go hunting, there's more paperwork involved in getting the approval to kill the animal(s), not buying the firearm to do it with.

      What was really fascinating in this latest round of votes in the Senate, was that the Democrats tried to cross the streams, by suggesting that people on the Terrorism watch list be restricted from buying guns. The ACLU lobbied against this, because of the obscurity/undemocratic nature/etc of the watch lists (you don't know if you're on, they won't confirm, and it's near impossible to get removed from it). At the same time, everyone in the Senate pretty much wound up voting on party lines - which I suppose shows that gun control is a stronger issue than the rest of it, at least at the moment.
    • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:40AM (#52358637) Homepage

      The Democrats want to take our guns (totalitarianism); the Republicans want to spy on us (also totalitarianism). Can't one goddamn politician react appropriately (by recognizing that embracing totalitarianism means the terrorists WIN), for once?!

      Plenty do, such as Gary Johnson. They're derided as kooks, of course.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      Bernie Sanders.

    • by rock_climbing_guy ( 630276 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:51AM (#52358731) Journal
      "Never let a crisis go to waste".

      -Rahm Emanuel

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      The Democrats want to take our guns (totalitarianism); the Republicans want to spy on us (also totalitarianism).

      The difference is that the Republicans actually pass things like that, while the Democrats only "take away guns" in the imaginations of Republicans.

      The last significant gun control legislation was passed more than 2 decades ago, didn't take away a single gun from anyone who legally owned one prior to the law passing, was supported by Ronald Regan, and expired 10 years ago.

      So given the two choices, I'd suggest you'd be far better served by opposing the party that actually has a proven track record of pro

  • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by robcfg ( 1005359 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:10AM (#52358399)
    If you are the silent type of guy and just go grab your gun and shoot people, how would all this surveillance help?
    • If that shooting proved anything, then that you don't even have to be the silent type for the whole surveillance to be moot. That guy has been interrogated multiple times and still was sent out on the street again.

      You can't fix incompetence by giving the incompetent more leeway.

  • by SkyLeach ( 188871 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:10AM (#52358401) Homepage

    CNN article: http://money.cnn.com/2016/06/1... [cnn.com]

    For what it's worth, this has been down-played in media (haven't seen it blasting twitter and stuff much)

    So basically NONE OF THE PROPOSALS would have prevented him from getting a gun.

    As a voter, I'm sick of intelligent and informed voters being sidelined by media and legal cowboy politicians.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:21AM (#52358475)

      CNN article: http://money.cnn.com/2016/06/1... [cnn.com]

      For what it's worth, this has been down-played in media (haven't seen it blasting twitter and stuff much)

      So basically NONE OF THE PROPOSALS would have prevented him from getting a gun.

      As a voter, I'm sick of intelligent and informed voters being sidelined by media and legal cowboy politicians.

      He was denied a sale at a gun shop who also reported him to the FBI as they had a really bad feeling about the guy, they felt really uncomfortable with some of the questions he was asking and his general behavior. It wasn't the first time he had been report either but look what good that ended up doing.

    • Generally speaking, if you're blocked from purchasing a gun, they can't hire you for a job that requires you to carry a gun. At least, that's my recollection from the Army - if someone got a conviction for domestic assault, they couldn't join, and if they were already in they were screwed, because they would be barred from transporting a weapon across state lines due to the Lautenberg (sp?) amendment.
  • And yet... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IWantMoreSpamPlease ( 571972 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:13AM (#52358423) Homepage Journal

    despite ALL the evidence gathered prior to the shooting, no one (gov't agency-wise) did anything.
    It's almost like they knew, but waited, so they could use it as an excuse to get more power... ...things that make you go "hmmmmm"

    • Re:And yet... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:26AM (#52358515)

      Huh? How did they do nothing? The FBI checked him out multiple times but had no actionable cause.

      Unless you want the FBI more flagrantly violating civil liverties there was nothing they can do. And these expanded powers will do fuck all either.

  • What happened to the party of small government and suspicion of government interfering with people's personal lives?

    • It was taken over by religious nutjobs that want to childproof the world. Of course without keeping you from ruining your life and finances by falling prey to corporate swindlers, nobody wants to take that liberty away from you!

    • They're also the party of law enforcement and respect for authority.

      And really, their concern for "small government" primarily extends to "small in budget", and then for things like spending money on poor people. Spending on the military and law enforcement isn't a problem, as long as said law doesn't impact the sort of people that support them. FBI and CIA they like, but the BATF and IRS not so much.
  • That shooter took away my freedoms! Thank you politicians for doing the right thing. Freedoms!
    • Well since G. W. Bush said they hate us because of our freedoms our government has been working tirelessly to make us safer by removing those freedoms that cause terrorists to hate us and thus lessening the chance of another attack. If we don't have any freedoms they won't hate us any more right.
  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:17AM (#52358449) Journal
    It's the noise, dummy...You cannot see the intelligence for all the noise.

    Counting the 50+ deaths in Orlando as the act of an Islamic terrorist, which is at least debatable, there have been fewer than 100 deaths in the US since 2001.

    This is not exactly the sort of threat that sane men forfeit their liberty for.

    • by Sir Holo ( 531007 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @11:21AM (#52359311)

      It's the noise, dummy...You cannot see the intelligence for all the noise.

      Counting the 50+ deaths in Orlando as the act of an Islamic terrorist, which is at least debatable, there have been fewer than 100 deaths in the US since 2001.

      This is not exactly the sort of threat that sane men forfeit their liberty for.

      Wasn't Timothy McVeigh at least a self-proclaimed Christian? Why is he not referred to as a "Christian Terrorist"?

  • Pick up the phone (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lawrence_Bird ( 67278 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:18AM (#52358459) Homepage

    And call his office and call your own congress critters instead of just spouting off here.

    • You think I'm wealthy enough to own my own congress critter? What do I look like, one of the Koch brothers?

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:22AM (#52358493)
    Like Australia did then this is the next best thing. I don't think mental health services would have helped the shooter. It's been suggested he was a repressed homosexual taking it out on the night club attendees. That was likely due to his religious upbringing so It'd be hard to insert mental health services into that without at least the appearance of attacking his religion. America is big on hard-line religion. Basically take gun control and the prospect of mellowing out religion away and I can't think of any other tools. And when you're only tool's a hammer...
    • Note that Australia didn't just ban "assault weapons", they pretty much banned everything but shotguns.

      As to "the shooter", I'm waiting to find out how many of the shootees were shot by the cops, not the "terrorist". The fact that the local government is refusing to release the information at least suggests that some of them were shot by cops (if they knew that none were, they'd be trumpeting that to high heaven, instead of saying "we're not going to discuss that"....

  • by Xyrus ( 755017 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:29AM (#52358537) Journal

    This should be obvious, but I guess politicians need to be seen doing something, and apparently reasonable gun control in a country that makes up a 1/3 of violent gun crimes just isn't going to fly.

    The guy was nuts. He had a documented history of being nuts. His friends thought he was nuts. His family thought he was nuts. And yet, he could still get plenty of ammo and guns. The problem wasn't that there wasn't enough surveillance. The problem is that no one was paying attention to the information that was ALREADY AVAILABLE.

    "Oh, I see you have a history of being bat shit insane. Here, let me get you a special discount on our Sandy Hook signature line of guns."

  • " Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican and sponsor of the amendment"

    Why am I not surprised. McCain never saw a tyrannical action he couldn't embrace. . .

  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:33AM (#52358577) Homepage Journal
    We can't possibly do anything to prevent (or even slow down) people from getting guns, because reasons. So instead we'll expand domestic spying, which we all know works so well and never has any negative consequences. That's the ticket, right there.
  • by turp182 ( 1020263 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:37AM (#52358601) Journal

    There's a good book of the same title by Naomi Klein.

    It's a simple concept,. and the summary summarizes it for this situation: exploit a mass shooting in order to expand the government's digital spying powers.

    Here's what we know:
    1. Born in the US, thus a US citizen (child of immigrants, but most all of us are)
    2. Had two wives (and one divorce) and a small child
    3. Worked in security (where they carry guns)
    4. Was investigated twice by the FBI (someone he attended religious things with had reported him)
    5. Was legally able to purchase firearms

    I'm sorry government of the United States, you weren't going to stop this guy. Except, he had been investigated and vetted as not a threat. THAT IS WHERE THE SYSTEM FAILED!

    Could the system have been successful? We will probably never know. But:
    * Him researching guns wouldn't have raised any eyes (it shouldn't have anyway).
    * is father was rather wordy and seemed supportive of some "bad" groups (him searching for such things could have easily been painted as "know thy enemy" or simple curiosity).

    He's basically Timothy McVeigh but against the gay community rather than the Federal government (and also no where near as deadly as Timothy).

    • You're right.

      He couldn't be stopped because he wasn't doing anything criminal, right up until the moment he did. This is part of the folly of gun laws. They don't stop people from deciding to commit a criminal act- there is simply no way to do such a thing.

      If every firearm in the US were outlawed and he was unable to get or make one (unlikely, but let's pretend), maybe he'd have taken a few glass bottles filled with gas into the nightclub and firebombed it. What's the next step: outlawing glass bottles and

      • by dskoll ( 99328 )

        So, laws don't generally deter criminals?

        Then why have drug laws? They don't work.

        Why have laws against theft? Criminals aren't gonna obey them.

        Why have laws against murder? It won't generally deter criminals.

        Do you see how utterly fucking ridiculous those statements are? And yet the gun lobby parrots them in regards to gun control in all seriousness and with a straight face.

      • by dskoll ( 99328 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @10:07AM (#52358833) Homepage

        Second reply: Yes, a determined killer will kill. But easy access to guns makes it much more likely that an unhinged person will take down a whole bunch of others. It's exceedingly unlikely that a guy with a glass bottle or a knife would kill 49 people before being stopped.

        Look at Australia's experience with gun control. In the 18 years prior to 1996, they had 13 mass shootings (defined as 4 or more victims.) Since 1996 when they brought in draconian gun laws, they have had zero mass shootings. Zero.

        Not only have mass shootings been drastically reduced, but the firearm homicide rate fell by 59 percent and the firearm suicide rate by 65 percent without a parallel increase in non-firearm homicides and suicides. That's because a lot of homicides and suicides are not planned, but occur in the heat of the moment, and are much likely to take place if there's easy access to deadly weapons. Here's the reference [andrewleigh.org] (PDF).

        Where I do agree, though, is that gun control probably will not work in the US. You have way too many guns in circulation, and you're poisoned by 200+ years of the Second Amendment. Fixing that is well-nigh impossible, but just ignoring the problem is not going to help.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dave420 ( 699308 )

        But gun laws do work. It's not as if this is an untried experiment - there are many countries with strict gun laws, and they reap the benefits of not having stuff like this happen every other week. There are next to no mass shootings, people don't need guns for self defence (as those they need to defend themselves against are incredibly likely to not be armed with a gun), the police aren't on edge because every traffic stop or pat down might end up in a shoot-out, and so on and so on.

        "He couldn't be stoppe

  • Yay! More surveillance, who couldn't be super-duper happy about that? Remember, citizens, it's for our own good and it will never be used for anything bad, okay? Alrighty then, carry on!

  • What a coincidence right? Seeing how quick the US took advantage of this "tragedy" makes me believe in those false flags theories as time passes by....
    • Politicians smell blood. They begin to writhe in ecstasy. Always looking for that extra bit of control and power. I never got an opportunity to vote for the real people who make the power. Some rich fuck from some corporation who can get laws passed never got my vote. This sham of a country is a masterbating joke. I reject my oath to amerika.
  • Come on baby, give it to me harder. Yea, that's the way I like it. Can I just put the surveillance equipment on my gun?
  • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Tuesday June 21, 2016 @09:50AM (#52358717)

    piss on the Constitution and wipe their dirty jackboots with the Stars and Stripes? I'm a Canadian so to a certain extent I don't have a horse in the race; but even so, this really bothers me, if for no other reason than the US government's history of getting its own laws and practices and Peeping Tom-ness implemented extraterritorially. If I actually lived in the States, I'd be ready to chew battleships and spit out nails over this latest attempt to circumvent due process.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.

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