Polls show the American public strongly against NSA surveillance against them, but actually getting them to stop depends in a large part on Congress, and a battle that is looming between spying advocates and critics.
The Intelligence Committee chairs in both the House and Senate are eager to back the NSA, and are pushing a resolution, written by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D – CA), that would do materially nothing to stop the programs, and would instead seek to “tweak” the amount of transparency the American public gets about it.
On the other hand, the revelation of “social mapping” has added to concerns about the NSA’s mass tracking of American citizens, and is spawning a competing resolution from Judiaciary Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D – VT), who wants major changes including the revocation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
The Obama Administration has made clear that it opposes major changes, insisting NSA surveillance of American citizens is a vital part of national security. Yet while they downplay the extent of the program, repeated leaks continue to show worse and worse violations, driving calls for far greater reforms, if not a wholesale tear-down of the existing surveillance state.