Thoughts on the Failed Effort to Rein in the NSA

Justin Amash’s bid to reign in the NSA failed by a narrow vote in the House of Representatives. The close defeat has been met with optimism by liberty advocates (“The Battle for the Amash Amendment: Victory in Defeat” by Justin Raimondo) and anger with those who voted against the bill. Various motives have been attributed to those who voted no. In “Plutocracy in Action” Joseph Salerno follows the money and intimates that they were bought by companies that feed at the trough of the surveillance state. While I have no doubt that such bribery played a role, I believe that it was secondary.

I believe that the primary driver of votes against was fear and for was mendacity.

Regarding fear, I will direct readers to my post “Justin Amash Versus the NSA“.

Regarding mendacity, everyone in the House realized that the bill would be ineffective. Recall, that the program called PRISM is the current incarnation of a program called Total Information Awareness that was supposedly squashed due to popular uproar. Additionally, the NSA’s budget is a slush fund that can be used for anything while hiding behind claims about the necessity of secrecy. For example, I recall reading an article years ago about the construction of a new NSA building in metro DC. A Congressman happened to notice the construction on his way to the office and asked his staff to look into it, as it was clear that it was a government building but there was no indication of the sponsoring agency. He learned that it was for the NSA yet there was no budget item about it.

The NSA is accountable to no one. It can and will do what ever it wants to maintain its power. Its number one goal is to collect as much dirt on all members of the government so that it can use the threat of blackmail to kill any initiative to curb its power.

The NSA will be brought under control when the entire warfare, surveillance state bankrupts the country and the money runs out.

Let us not forget that this has happened before. The last time the US went bust was in 1971 [1]. The result was the end of the Vietnam War, end of the lunar exploration program, and a scaling back of Cold War weapon systems [2]. Welfare survived due to electoral considerations. A similar situation will happen again.

[1] See the last two paragraphs of my blog post “World Wide Currency Debasement: The United States is Not the Sole Culprit” for a summary of the events that led to the US dollar becoming a fiat currency in 1971. This allowed the government to inflate openly to deal with its funding problems. As bond holders were robbed of their purchasing power Nixon’s actions were a stealth default and de facto admission of bankruptcy.

[2] This furnished the pretext for Reagan’s rearmament program in the 1980s.

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