Thomas Massie

Will Orlando Shooting Derail Thomas Massie's War on Warrantless Data Collection?

'You can't waive the Fourth Amendment just because it's not convenient,' says Massie.

|

Thomas Massie
Reason TV

The House of Representatives is set to vote later today on a provision that would outlaw the federal government's routine collection of American citizens' electronic information: emails, text messages, photos, etc. Supporters say the measure is popular with the public, and note that it was approved by the House twice previously (the Senate eventually spiked it).

But this time, the vote is probably going to be more contentious, coming in the wake of the terrorist attack in Orlando, where Omar Mateen—a U.S. citizen with parents who emigrated from the Middle East—murdered more than 50 people at a gay nightclub in the name of radical Islam.

The government is allowed to collect information from foreign persons' electronic communications, but isn't supposed to subject American citizens to the same level of warrantless surveillance. The Massie-Lofgren Amendment, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California) spells this out explicitly: federal authorities must obtain a warrant in order to collect data on American citizens.

Massie told Reason that intelligence officials have admitted to engaging in this kind of data collection, even though the Constitution already prohibits it.

"The amendment is redundant in the context of the Constitution, but it's not redundant in the context of current practice," said Massie.

Massie notes that his amendment doesn't stop federal officials from investigating Americans—they just need to get warrants in order to do so. This isn't particularly difficult, and only requires probable cause, says Massie.

"You can't waive the Fourth Amendment just because it's not convenient at any point in time," he said.

The House approved Massie's amendment last year, and the year before. Both times, it died during negotiations with the Senate.

But that was then. This time around, even the House vote looks dicey. That's because plenty of politicians in both parties seem less deferential to the Constitution, due process, and privacy at a time of heightened sensitivity to terrorism. Republicans lose all interest in preventing warrantless data collection, and Democrats become obsessed with limiting gun rights.

Rep. Devin Nunes, a Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence committee, gave a typical response when asked about Massie's amendment.

"At a time when jihadists are targeting Americans for mass murder, limiting the intelligence community's access to a crucial anti-terror tool is the last thing we can afford to do," he said in a statement, according to Bloomberg News.

It's a reality that Massie—a principled, consistent libertarian—finds frustrating.

"The irony of my colleagues using the Orlando tragedy to erode the Fourth Amendment is they are castigating the Democrats for using the tragedy to erode the Second Amendment," he said.

Watch Massie speak at Reason Weekend, below.

NEXT: Reformers Again Attempt to Curtail Legal Theft by Police in California

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Why does Massie hate the American public?! Doesn’t he want to DO SOMETHING?!

    1. I saw something, and I’m SAYING something!

      1. I GOTTA LOT OF PROBLEMS WITH YOU PEOPLE

        1. “YOU PEOPLE!!!!” CIS GENDERED PATRIARCHAL GAY BASHING KOCHTOPUS LOVING!!! STONE HIM!!!!!

        2. +1 serenity now

        3. My best friend’s ex-wife makes $94/hr on the laptop. She has been unemployed for 6 months but last month her income with big fat bonus was over $14000 just working on the laptop for a few hours. I work through this Website.. Read more on this site._____________ http://www.earnmore9.com

    2. My friend ‘Natasha Bruce’ makes $95/hour on the internet. She has been laid off for siX mOnths but last month her paycheck was $20850 just working on the internet for a few hours. Try it out on following website,.. Go to this website and read more_______________ http://www.earnmore9.com

    3. My co-worker’s step-mother makes $97 hourly on the laptop . She has been out of work for six months but last month her paycheck was $14108 just working on the laptop for a few hours.
      I work through this Website.. See here._______ http://www.earnmore9.com

  2. If Republicans are so dumb as to believe that this massacre could have been prevented if only we’d given the NSA more latitude to warrantlessly search cell phones, they’re even dumber than Democrats who insist renewing the AWB would have done.

    1. I think the world could USE a litte more Average White Band these days, hater! just cause Dems like them…..

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfAJLGFWxYo

  3. Boy, let’s hope Orlando doesn’t derail this. As noted in the RTFA, I’m with Massie that they just need to get a warrant. Not into spying on citizens, but, if you can get a warrant, that’s what they’re for (SLD I know judges can be hacks and prosecutors and cops lie, etc. I’m JUST SAYIN’ – with a warrant, not illegal – without, is)

    ANYHOO….

    I have NO illusion that they’re not doing it now, been doing it, gonna continue doing it no matter whether there’s a “law” or a “policy” or whatever. We’re done for – just a question of when and how the econ meltdown occurs, how many people die in how bad of violence, and what comes after it.

    /DOOOOOOOOM

    1. Who’s gonna punish them, Thomas Massie?

      1. No one – hence why we’re DOOOOOOMED. But I appreciate the thought and gesture…even though it will never happen, which is even WORSE.

        I loathe what my country my country’s gummint has become

        1. Yes. And what the people have become that we are here.

          Why do they need this? Political correctness will prevent them from even looking at the people they should be looking at. Instead they’re going to focus on redneck bob looking for that ever elusive and often blamed right-wing terrorist.

  4. What the Miami massacre means for warrantless data collection?

    What the Miami massacre means for discriminating against gays in blood donor programs?

    Where’s the post about what the Miami massacre means for high speed rail, Robby?

    1. Miami? If only Crockett and Tubbs were still on the beat….

    2. Gays sometimes use public transit, so if you’re against rail projects you hate gays.

      1. Ew – why I don’t take public transit. Don’t want the AIDS from the toilets teh gaiz have used.

        /Mateen in a bit of an ironic moment before his well-deserved death

    3. “Where’s the post about what the Miami massacre means for high speed rail, Robby?”

      If there is a tie-in between jihadist terrorism and high-speed rail, I’m sure Choo-Choo Joey Biden could find it.

      1. Robby could find it.

        He found the others!

    4. Now that DJTrump has decided to work 80hr weeks at his new job of soiling his own pants, it seems like a good time take one last stab at #DumpTrump.

      But who would replace him?

      How about Thomas Massie? Brilliant guy, super-relatabe (non-smug), and just generally The Anti-Trump in every way.

      “But Thomas Massie isn’t running,” you say! To which I reply: “So fucking WHAT?” Wouldn’t it be nice to start a new norm where anyone who is striving for power is seen as a psychotic maniac? This is how it was in ye olden days! We can revive a venerable tradition viz.,: campaigning is the sole purview of demagogues; statesmen (and -chicks) wait to be asked to serve!

  5. So apropos of this and based on what I’m hearing elsewhere in the news, it appears that the party of Michael Moore has done a complete 180, either that or they never really believed any previously uttered skepticism on the subject, but they have now become raging, red-faced loyal fans of government watch and no-fly lists, having a complete religious faith in their management and execution.

    1. They used to pretend to care about civil liberties, and now they no longer pretend.

    2. Well of course.

      They were never opposed to illegal government snooping in principle. They were just disappointed that they weren’t the ones in charge of the snooping.

    3. I thought they put the Mr. Moore and the rest anti-war left in cryogenic stasis, with strict instructions that they were only to be revived upon the election of a Republican president.

      1. In his house at R’lyeh, dead Michael Moore waits dreaming.

    4. Here’s the General Rule of Political Principles:

      The members of the party in power supports everything the government and party in power does while the opposition party cares about rule of law, legality, constitutionality, and principles. Anything wrong with government is because of the opposition.

      So when the Republicans create the lists, they were bad and now the that Democrats are in power, they are good. When the Republicans are back in power, the lists will remain good but Republican action will taint them and you will need to vote Democratic to make them pure again.

  6. “Will Orlando Shooting Derail Thomas Massie’s War on Warrantless Data Collection?”

    Yeah, probably. Sigh.

    1. Oh no.. it would have been derailed by other shitbag authoritarians regardless of Orlando..

  7. Will Orlando Shooting Derail Thomas Massie’s War on Warrantless Data Collection?

    ‘You can’t waive the Fourth Amendment just because it’s not convenient,’ says Massie.

    Already has, already have.

    Paul Ryan is right now on TV earnestly explaining the right way and the wrong way to go about “making sure this sort of thing never happens again”. Fuck. You. There is no way to make sure this sort of thing never happens again, I can guaran-damn-tee you this sort of thing is going to happen again. You’re either a retard or you think we’re all retards if you say there’s some way to make sure this sort of thing never happens again and expect us to believe it. Stop saying you’re going to make sure this sort of thing never happens again and tell us how we can go about minimizing the harms from this sort of thing when it happens again.

    1. ^This.

  8. One last thing:

    IF YOU’VE DONE NOTHING WRONG, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR! WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF! IT’S NOT A SUICIDE PACT!!!11ONEeleventyONE1111!!

    That is all.

  9. Let me see if I got this straight.

    A guy who was a former prison guard (and was vetted for that job) and was licensed by FL as an armed security guard (after being vetted by both the state and the security company) AND ENDED UP ON THE FBI’s ‘OYU MIGHT WANT TO TAKE A LOOK’ LIST!

    That guy? That guy still took up a gun and killed a bunch of people but if we only allow the state *more* latitude to collect information and vet gun owners then these mass shootings and terrorist actions will be stopped in their tracks?

    1. *blinks*

      1. +1 Homer Simpson

    2. He had and passed 3 standard psych exams for being an armed security guard.

      This is why the Democrats will ultimately abandon the monitoring-watchlist-psych-eval track and go full gun control. 100% guarantee.

      1. Working with Democrats to deny gun rights but ONLY TO THE BAD GUYS WE SWEAR is a bit like working with a wolf to get the sheep into the pen for the night.

        Maybe he’s behaving right now, but don’t turn your back.

    3. “That guy? That guy still took up a gun and killed a bunch of people but if we only allow the state *more* latitude to collect information and vet gun owners then these mass shootings and terrorist actions will be stopped in their tracks?”

      Well, OF COURSE this stuff keeps us safe! How else do you explain the exemplary men and women who comprise our thin blue line?

    4. I know it’s been said too many times before but…you can’t fix stupid.

  10. Oh, yeah. People were not that bothered to begin with.

    I was listening to libertarian (ish) atheist podcaster Adam Carolla’s first take on the shooting – and he specifically called out people objecting to the feds reading everyone’s email. His take was basically that he doesn’t have anything worth hiding in his email, so neither should you. Human life is more important than your privacy.

    I’d say he is firmly in the mainstream on this take. And this from a guy who is ostensibly on our side. The “lawmaker” constituency is hardly more sympathetic to our rights than the Man Show demographic, so I’d say we are screwed.

    1. He’s taken that position before on the email.

    2. ” His take was basically that he doesn’t have anything worth hiding in his email, so neither should you. Human life is more important than your privacy.”
      People shouldn’t have to justify in advance hiding their emails from the government, or anything else. It’s none of your business is I sent a check to Planned Parenthood, asked about how to come out to my mother, contacted a rape trauma line, told a reporter to look into the mayor’s private companies, negotiated a $100M business merger, told friends that I think I recognized a well-known mobster near the scene of a murder or any of the dozens of other things I might not want bandied about. This “If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to hide” is only true in a world were only “wrong” things get punished. In fact of course people get punished for doing the right thing all the time.

  11. Would there be a DOHS in the US without muslim immigrants? I could buy a plane ticket from LA to Miami at the counter with $99 cash in 1987. Even american black muslims like Muhammad Ali could.

    1. doh!

    2. It’s amazing how things have changed. There’s a scene in Parallax View (1974) where Warren Beatty decides to get on a ‘plane at the last moment. He runs across the tarmac, up the stairs, and, when the flight attendant gets to his seat, he tells her where he’s flying to and pays cash for the flight.

    3. Millennials have no concept of the way it was and I get a sneaking suspicion that our overlords want to tax harvest me.

  12. I mean, what does the NSA actually *do*?

    If we just completely got rid of the NSA, would we really be “less safe”?

    1. Waste a LOT of money, fuck up shit, miss things, steal shit from people.

      So – a lot, really.

    2. I read that the NSA was entirely created by executive order and so can be gotten rid of with one.. don’t know if that is true bc I am to lazy for even a google search.

      1. I mean really, what can’t you do with executive order these days? Amirite guys? Amirite?

        1. Move MJ from Schedule I to Schedule II?

  13. I just noticed this, Massie must get his hair made at the same place Rand Paul does.

  14. Here we are debating which of our rights we should jettison, while getting ready to select from among two gun grabbing cryptofascists to lead us to serfdom.

    I wonder if Agile Cyborg could just get us all blitzed on psychedelics for the next six months?

  15. LGBTQ(I2) linked with showers. Hmm…

      1. Hard to navigate pages when you’re only using one hand?

  16. Afghanistan is not in the Middle East.

  17. The amendment seems to be a requirement not to spend from a particular appropriation for specified purposes. This is a waste of effort and time, mere posturing by the congressmen on both sides. It is political theater.

    If the measure is not passed, things will continue as now, and Massie, Lofgren, and their cosponsors and supporters will claim credit for their valiant attempts to protect us from oppression.

    If the measure is passed, Massie, Lofgren, their cosponsors and their supporters will claim credit for their success in protecting us from oppression. Agencies under the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security then will arrange to compensate NSA using interagency transfers from their different appropriations to cover the cost of the same search capabilities. Nothing essential will change.

    The correct, and effective, way to accomplish the goal is through change to the laws that enable the searches. Experience suggests that this will take one or more congressional election cycles at best, if it is even attainable. Courts may nibble at the edges and decide in favor of a warrant requirement in marginal cases, but are a doubtful source of general relief in the context of statutory and case law that allows the government considerable leeway in matters of law enforcement.

  18. Probably, which strikes me as terribly sad.

  19. it’s funny that we’ve reached a point where we have to put into law that which is already enshrined in the constitution. when we look back, that might be the moment when we can say it all went to hell.

  20. Commence your Home Business right now. Hang out with your Family and Earn. Start bringing $75/hr just over a computer. Very easy way to choose your Life Happy and Earning continuously. Begin here..

    Copy This Link…

    ??? http://www.BuzzMom90.Com

  21. I’ve made $76,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student.I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money.It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it.

    Open This LinkFor More InFormation..

    ??????? http://www.Reportmax20.com

  22. I’m making over $9k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do…. Go to tech tab for work detail..

    CLICK THIS LINK=====>> http://www.earnmax6.com/

  23. I am making $89/hour working from home. I never thought that it was legitimate but my best friend is earning $10 thousand a month by working online, that was really surprising for me, she recommended me to try it. just try it out on the following website.

    ??? http://www.NetNote70.com

  24. Evan . if you, thought Gladys `s story is impossible… on saturday I got a new Alfa Romeo since getting a check for $5834 recently and-in excess of, ten thousand this past-munth . it’s definitly the best work Ive ever done . I began this 4 months ago and almost immediately started bringing in at least $80.. p/h . you could look here …

    ………………. http://www.MaxPost30.com

  25. It has been revealed plainly that the government entities tasked with our “security” had more than sufficient information to take action against the murderer in Orlando….. and chose not to. The issue was not access to data. Further, had this restriction been in place at the time, FBI STILL had more than enough information to rise to the level of “probable cause” to easily and quickly get any warrents for further investigation they wished to do. the problem was they did not WISH to do so.

    WHAT is going on that our elected government officials are so adamant that they possess unlimited powers over us and all our affairs, yet consititently FAIL to act on information they have already?

  26. my friend’s mom makes $73 hourly on the laptop . She has been out of a job for 6 months but last month her pay was $18731 just working on the laptop for a few hours…..

    Open This LinkFor More InFormation..

    ???????

    http://www.Reportmax20.com

  27. my roomate’s step-mother makes 60 each hour on the internet and she has been out of work for seven months but last month her check was 14489 just working on the internet for 5 hours a day, look at ..
    Read more on this web site..

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://www.maxincome20.com

  28. It shouldn’t, but that conclusion is common sense based.

  29. before I saw the bank draft which had said $9426 , I didnt believe that…my… brother woz like actualy earning money part-time at there labtop. . there uncles cousin has done this 4 less than fifteen months and by now repaid the dept on there place and got a great new Mini Cooper . read the full info here …

    Clik This Link inYour Browser??

    ? ? ? ? http://www.selfcash10.com

  30. before I saw the bank draft which had said $9426 , I didnt believe that…my… brother woz like actualy earning money part-time at there labtop. . there uncles cousin has done this 4 less than fifteen months and by now repaid the dept on there place and got a great new Mini Cooper . read the full info here …

    Clik This Link inYour Browser??

    ? ? ? ? http://www.selfcash10.com

  31. before I saw the bank draft which had said $9426 , I didnt believe that…my… brother woz like actualy earning money part-time at there labtop. . there uncles cousin has done this 4 less than fifteen months and by now repaid the dept on there place and got a great new Mini Cooper . read the full info here …

    Clik This Link inYour Browser??

    ? ? ? ? http://www.selfcash10.com

  32. If this tool is so crucial to preventing attacks why didn’t it stop Orlando? Warrantless surveillance is only useful to watch people you can’t find a reason to watch. Obviously that’s not going to be very productive.

  33. uptil I saw the bank draft four $8760 , I be certain …that…my sister woz actually bringing in money part time from there labtop. . there neighbour had bean doing this 4 only about eighteen months and resently cleard the depts on there home and bourt a top of the range Chrysler ….

    Clik This Link inYour Browser….

    ? ? ? ? http://www.Reportmax20.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.