Privacy advocates and constitutionalists in the US Senate failed to stop the renewal of the warrantless surveillance of American citizens by intelligence agencies. A loophole had provided them with the means by which to conduct the surveillance without a warrant.
The Senate quietly undertook a cloture vote to end debate on the bill that would renew the previous legislation what would have expired the program. With 60 for and 38 against, the Senate voted in favor of cloture, a considerable blow to privacy advocates who have long pushed for reform.
A two-thirds majority cloture vote of 60 is necessary to end a Senate filibuster. The vote ran for over an hour, slowing down considerably as the final votes trickled in and eventually slowing to a halt at 58-38.
The bill in question is known as S.139 or the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017, a six-year reauthorization of Section 702. The bill, which renews an NSA surveillance program, cleared the house with little resistance in a 256-164 vote before making its way in front of the Senate. Following the House vote, Senators Rand Paul and Ron Paul vowed to filibuster the Section 702 bill when it reached their chamber.
Cutting off debate stopped the filibuster and will allow for a full vote, which is expected to pass.
Leading into the vote, Senators Wyden and Paul and two others co-authored a letter rejecting the FISA bill as an “end-run on the Constitution.”
“To be clear, FISA’s purpose is to collect foreign intelligence, but without additional meaningful constraints, Congress is allowing the government to use information collected without a warrant against Americans in domestic court proceedings,” four Senators wrote.
The Senate vote tightened in the evening hours, as the Senate’s privacy hawks worked to drum up support for further debate around the surveillance bill, opening the door for amendments that could limit the government’s ability to use the loophole to surveil American citizens without first obtaining a warrant. Unfortunately for privacy reformers and anti-surveillance lawmakers, the Senate just voted to close that door, moving a bill forward to extend Section 702 surveillance for six more years.
America was once a protestant country supported by it constitution. But Protestants have now have grasped the hand of papal power. They have accepted the idea of immediate life after death, a form of spiritualism. Consequently, the US Constitution is a shell of its former self, and the realities of global circumstances have eroded its principles. This is all in preparation for the loss of liberties and the institution of Sunday worship for the common good.
“When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near.” Testimonies for the Church, Vol. 5, page 451.