Ron Paul: A House Divided Over NSA Spying on Americans

by Ron Paul

Last week’s House debate on the Defense Appropriations bill for 2014 produced a bit more drama than usual. After hearing that House leadership would do away with the traditional “open rule” allowing for debate on any funding limitation amendment, it was surprising to see that Rep. Justin Amash’s (R-MI) amendment was allowed on the Floor. In the wake of National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent of US government spying on American citizens, Amash’s amendment sought to remove funding in the bill for some of the NSA programs.

Had Amash’s amendment passed, it would have been a significant symbolic victory over the administration’s massive violations of our Fourth Amendment protections. But we should be careful about believing that even if it had somehow miraculously survived the Senate vote and the President’s veto, it would have resulted in any significant change in how the Intelligence Community would behave toward Americans. The US government has built the largest and most sophisticated spying apparatus in the history of the world.

The NSA has been massively increasing the size its facilities, both at its Maryland headquarters and in its newly built (and way over-budget) enormous data center in Utah. Taken together, these two facilities will be seven times larger than the Pentagon! And we know now that much of the NSA’s capacity to intercept information has been turned inward, to spy on us.

As NSA expert James Bamford wrote earlier this year about the new Utah facility:

“The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.”

But it happened anyway.

Over the last week we have seen two significant prison-breaks, one in Iraq, where some 500 al-Qaeda members broke out of the infamous Abu Ghraib prison, which the US built, and another 1,000 escaped in a huge break in Benghazi, Libya – the city where the US Ambassador was killed by the rebels that the US government helped put in power. Did the US intelligence community, focused on listening to our phone calls, not see this real threat coming?

Rep. Amash’s amendment was an important move to at least bring attention to what the US intelligence community has become: an incredibly powerful conglomeration of secret government agencies that seem to view Americans as the real threat. It is interesting that the votes on Amash’s amendment divided the House not on party lines. Instead, we saw the votes divided between those who follow their oath to the Constitution, versus those who seem to believe that any violation of the Constitution is justified in the name of the elusive “security” of the police state at the expense of liberty. The leadership – not to my surprise — of both parties in the House voted for the police state.

It is encouraging to see the large number of votes crossing party lines in favor of the Amash amendment. Let us hope that this will be a growing trend in the House – perhaps the promise that Congress may once again begin to take its duties and obligations seriously. We should not forget, however, that in the meantime another Defense Appropriations bill passing really means another “military spending” bill. The Administration is planning for a US invasion of Syria, more military assistance to the military dictatorship in Egypt, and more drones and interventionism. We have much work yet to do.


  • Steve Johnson

    Snowden, the alleged traitor who exposed Constitutional violations must seek aslym in Russia … while vile usurpers of the Constitution run the government.

    Henry David Thoreau said 150 years ago that all the honest men in America were in jail.

    Times change but people don’t!

  • Surfisher

    *Today’s USA = old CCCP 2.0* — you may find this truly educational and fundamentally disturbing!

    A friend of mine who escaped from Communism 40+ years ago and came to USA as a political refugee seeking freedom in our Country had the following to say:

    “I escaped in the early 1970’s from a Communist Eastern Block Country that was totalitarian in every meaning of the word — no-one could say a word against the government, it meant you disappeared in a Concentration (what the West called “Labor”) Camp, with your friends and relatives not knowing what happened to you. There were no warrants issued, no charges levied in a Court of Law — in the middle of the night uniformed and armed police broke down your door and hauled you away while your wife and children were screaming in distress. Never to be seen or heard of again!

    If you were one of the lucky ones to dare cross barbwired and booby-trapped with mines borders to the West, and made it across to FREEDOM, and eventually were accepted as a political refugee while waiting in a refugee camp in Western Europe for many months, and then came to America — you were than declared as a Traitor by your own Birth Nation, and given an automatic life-in-jail sentence (should you be recaptured and brought back) for betraying the Communist Party by escaping to America.

    Becoming a US Citizen in the late 1970’s was the proudest moment of my life — finally my ordeal of escaping a totalitarian dictatorship was rewarded by becoming a FREE MAN, an American Citizen!

    Now, a proud American Citizen in the 1980’s that could vote, I started noticing an alarming trend in US Politics — a tiny step that made no sense to me to make it into law, since it sounded what the Communists did — tell you all Laws they pass are for YOUR OWN GOOD! “Put your seatbelt on while driving”!!!

    Now, as a free man, I thought the government MUST NOT interfere with my choices for my own safety, and not treat me as a child to decide what’s best for me! But they did it anyway — and made it into law! The now famous: “Click it or Ticket”.

    That was the first red flag for me that the US Government was more concerned in controlling the people than respecting their rights to choose what’s best for themselves. What if one is claustrophobic and therefore cannot wear a seatbelt, or has fear of fire in an accident and the belt not releasing — NO, the Government has DECIDED for your OWN GOOD that YOU MUST WEAR ONE (you, as a Citizen, are too stupid to know any better), and made it into LAW!

    Now, from this tiny step that was mutely accepted by ALL Americans FOR THEIR OWN GOOD, our Government has made strides and leaps that are unimaginable IN CITIZENS CONTROL when compared to the old CCCP (the MOST AND LONGEST DICTATORIAL GOVERNMENT the world had seen in modern times, until, the Soviet Union financially collapsed 20 years ago… is now supplanted 2.0 by our own US Government).

    Here is the count of what Today’s US Government has improved 2.0 on the tyrannical Soviets, courtesy of the muteness of our own Citizens who accept these as Laws for OUR OWN GOOD (The Communist mantra of old — SHAME ON YOU ALL who dare call themselves Americans):

    1) Obama signs NAADA into Law, then when challenged and overturned by a Federal Judge, Obama sicks his lawyers to bring it back — meaning NOW STILL under Obama any US Citizen suspected ONLY (no need to issue a warrant or face a Judge) of terrorist activities (even if they are totally false) can and will be forcibly removed by gun-totting government agents from his home by breaking down his door like the KGB of old did in Soviet Russia (while his wife and children scream in distress) to an undisclosed location by the US Military never to be heard of again! Sounds like a concentration camp? Well done Obama — good lesson learned and APPLIED INTO US LAW by YOU from the now defunct Soviet Dictators!

    2) Dare speak against the Obama Government, and the IRS, NSA and many more are going to flag you down AND TARGET YOU, for JUST BEING AN AMERICAN CITIZEN exercising your Constitutional Rights!

    The Communist Governments used to do this legally, since they were not ashamed to tell you they were in Power and your were nothing but their subjects — but today’s US Government lies and is 2.0 the Soviets, PRISM and their like programs spy on every single American citizen, and make a file on us all…just like the Soviets did only on their Dissidents — not All their Citizens!


    3) If you dared escape A Communist Country back then, and became a refugee in America — the Communists would seek all means to bring you back so they can torture you and then kill you and thus make an EXAMPLE OF YOU SO NO OTHERS WOULD ATTEMPT TO DO WHAT YOU DID!

    Do you remember Simas Kudirka? The Russian seaman that jumped ship in the USA to seek refugee status from the tyrannical Russian Government in 1970 — and eventually the US Government turned him over to the Soviets to take him back to torture and eventually kill him?

    How sad is that the world has flipped — where NOW an American is seeking refugee status into Russia from a tyrannical USA Government that want’s to do to Edward Snowden in 2013 what the Russians did to Simas Kudirka in 1970!

    I feel I’m cursed — I escaped Communism over 40 years ago, and it still follows me here. America has become more communist today than The Soviet Block ever was!

    I’ve taped many interviews with this gentleman, and have supplied them to my lawyers. We’ll be posting an extensive article on time for the 2014 elections.

    Hope all Americans are paying attention to this man’s simple statements — IT’S OUR COUNTRY TO LOSE!

  • Surfisher

    IMPEACH Barack Hussein Obama — it stumbles-and-bumbles AND STUTTERS (which is usual for this political creature to try and come up with an answer it is not prepared for) while trying to decide what it is: A DICTATOR or NOT….LOL!


    Time to IMPEACH — make this SUPERB 15 minute video viral.

    Also, nice exposure of Hitlery Clinton!

    If any of you here are true Americans, give this post a thumbs up.

    Thank you!

    p.s. Don’t worry about the NSA (Nazis Spying on Americans) profiling you, they’ve been spying on you illegally for years, and the only way to stop them now is to have Obama IMPEACHED!

  • I wish the US voters would take this roll call vote to the ballot box in 2014. If you vote for big government spying on US citizens, then we vote against you. If there was ever an issue to use as a basis for being a single issue voter, this is it.

    My congressman is Andy Barr. He voted against Justin Amash’s amendment. We need to run a liberTEA candidate against him.

  • I wish the US voters would take this roll call vote to the ballot box in 2014. If you vote for big government spying on US citizens, then we vote against you. If there was ever an issue to use as a basis for being a single issue voter, this is it.

    My congressman is Andy Barr. He voted against Justin Amash’s amendment. We need to run a liberTEA candidate against him.

  • Thank you minnesotachris for uploading this. Subscriber from Italy

  • We all know the bill meant nothing. The Police State is in full control. But the vote did show which congressmen have liberty in their hearts and those that don’t.