Warrants

Senate Votes Down Protections Against Warrantless Government Collection of Americans' Browser and Search History

The amendment lost by one vote. Absent from today's vote? Sen. Bernie Sanders.

|

An amendment that would forbid the feds from accessing Americans' web browser and search history without a warrant died by just one vote in the Senate today.

By a vote of 59-37, Senators declined to accept an amendment by Sen. Ron Wyden (D–Ore.) and Sen. Steve Daines (R–Mont.) to a bill reauthorizing the expired USA Freedom Act. As part of resurrecting the Freedom Act, several lawmakers are attempting to push through reforms to better protect Americans from unwarranted, secret searches authorized through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court.

The proposed amendment by Wyden and Daines simply prohibited using the section of the law allowing for third-party data collection to include web browser and search history information. This amendment would only protect American citizens and only covered warrantless searches.

Still, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) opposed the amendment and even circulated a rival amendment that would specifically amend the law in the opposite direction and make it clear that these records were permitted for search targets.

The amendment required 60 votes to pass and fell short by just one vote. The split was not entirely partisan. In fact, 10 Democrats helped McConnell bring the amendment down. Among them were national security state fan Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.), former vice-presidential candidate Tim Kaine (D–Va.), and Sen. Mark Warner (D–Va.).

But more important was the identity of one of the four senators who didn't vote: former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). The amendment lost by a single vote. Had he been there, maybe things would have turned out differently.

Read the roll call for the amendment here.

In better news, another reform amendment offered by Sens. Mike Lee (R–Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D–Vt.) passed this afternoon by a vote of 77-19. Their amendment bolsters the independent amicus curiae process for the FISA Court, which allows the court to name independent advisers to advocate on behalf of the rights of people targeted by FISA Court investigations. We saw the value of these independent advisers last year when the court went back to evaluate what went wrong with the warrants used by the FBI to justify wiretapping Carter Page, a former aide to Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. David Kris, appointed by the court to review the process, pushed back against the FBI's attempt to classify the flaws of the warrant applications as training issues and called for stronger procedures to verify the accuracy of warrant requests.

NEXT: Will Breyer Side With Trump in Congressional Subpoena Fight?

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. Yet here we are ignoring this while everyone is up in arms about “poor Michael Flynn.”

    1. You’re commenting on an article about it that just happened a few hours ago…

      1. But someone is ignoring it somewhere. So there.

        1. Make money online from home extra cash more than $18k to $21k. Start getting paid every month Thousands Dollars online. I have received $26K in this month by just working online from home in my part time.every person easily do this job by just open this link and follow details on this page to get started… Read More Details

  2. “Still, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) opposed the amendment and even circulated a rival amendment that would specifically amend the law in the opposite direction and make it clear that these records were permitted for search targets.”

    JFC this should end once and for all any “debate” about whether Moscow Mitch and Team Trump are actually pro-freedom. I mean seriously if LC1789 and similar posters defend(s) this then we are truly in the Twilight zone.

    But maybe the “libertarians” around here will surprise me for once.

    1. Oh, you’re one of those.

      1. One of what? The people who think it’s fucked that “conservatives” are crying over poor Michael l privacy while they vote for this shit?

        1. *Flynn’s

          1. And the fact that you dont give a shit about Flynn proves you’re a dishonest idiot.

        2. No, one of those who makes everything about Trump and cant be worth even arguing with.

          What does Trump have to do with a Senate vote? You’re broken.

      2. BTW way to go instantly proving my theory lol

        1. Jesse, Rufus the Dumbass, John, and LovesTrumpsTinyMushroomdick 1789 are Jesse Helms conservatives. They are in no way libertarian.

          1. Jomo, this is what you are.

          2. And you, Buttplug, goosestepped your sad little ass off everytime the Obama regime peeled back another layer of privacy.

            Shut the fuck up and go die with the rest of your shitty cult.

        2. What theory idiot? I didnt posit an opinion here dumbfuck.

          Again, you’re broken.

          This is a congressional issue, not a trump issue retard.

        3. Nobody here has defended this you fucking idiot.

      3. One of those jomos?

    2. They’re only concerned about the surveillance that touches them personally, the fetid, festering peasant masses need somebody watching them lest they get uppity and forget their place.

    3. I would be curious to know what Trump had to say on the matter – or not say, as the case may be. It’s not like he has any trouble weighing in on all manner of things that are none of his business and he seems to be more skeptical than many of the rest on the whole Priesthood of the Intelligence Community thing – though not nearly skeptical enough given that these are the people who launched a coup against him. It’s much the same with his skepticism of the US getting involved in every little conflict anywhere on the globe, the necessity of which seems to be a foregone conclusion with the IC and the MIC. He talks a lot about pulling back on this shit, but he does little. Does he not really believe the shit he’s talking or is he just listening to the wrong “experts” when he runs into the problem of trying to make decisions when he doesn’t in fact know what the hell he’s doing? And as far as I know, Michael Flynn might have been one of the few people who could have set Trump straight and yet Trump threw him under the bus the first time he was asked to show a little loyalty.

  3. >>Had he been there, maybe things would have turned out differently.

    what the fuck dude do the one fucking thing “we” expect. damn.

    1. Author Shackford presupposes Bernie, whose campaign staffers called for labor camps and gulags for political enemies, would have voted the “other way.”

  4. Why did this amendment require a supermajority to pass? Why do any amendments require supermajorities to pass? The only amendments that should require supermajorities are the ones that increase federal spending.

    1. >>require supermajorities to pass?

      Harry Reid’s legacy?

    2. Probably a cloture vote.

    3. Be careful what you wish for. The Senate generally has required 3/5 or 2/3 majority votes to make sure the majority can’t simply ride roughshod over the minority. Once upon a time, we were a republic rather than a democracy and a federation of states rather than a single entity, a federal government rather than a national. Since the Senate represented the states – the individual governments of the states – and the states were all equally sovereign, the Senators tended to be pitted more along regional or sectional lines than party lines. Today, the idea of states being co-equal sovereigns with the national government and holding to a republican form of government is as anachronistic as the Electoral College and the idea that the government is in any meaningful way limited by the Constitution and the Will of the People.

      This will become much clearer in 2026 when the Democrats take control of the Senate and revoke all these non-democratic rules that stand in the way of mob rule. God willing, I’ll be dead by then and won’t have to see the guillotines roll.

  5. Deep State Republicans fuck America once again.

    Oh, and Bernie Sanders is a worthless piece of shit. He could have done something right for the first time in his career.

    1. Sanders ended his campaign and is now backing Biden. That’s obviously “something right.”

    2. So you’re ignoring the House passing FISA extensions with very mild reforms, with more democrats than repubs, because you’re fucking retarded or fucking ignorant?

      https://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/mar/11/house-passes-fisa-reform-over-bipartisan-objection/

      Some of us object to FISA and blame both sides.

      You’re incapable.

    3. I agree with that as well. Super disappointed in Bernie, and I should have said that at the outset. I just find it unreal how this works:
      McConnell supports, directly enables, or by his silence on other matters, supports Trump, always.
      Because McConnell always supports Trump, Trump fanboys like JesseAZ drop any pretense of liberty as long as it the offense comes from the right “team.” So even a naked power grab like this is ok, because McConnell.
      And Michael Flynn gets all this sympathy while the actual populace gets fucked, again.

      1. >>McConnell supports … Trump, always.

        ACA still in effect.

        1. Only because McCain wanted to fuck Trump one last time.

          1. An epic owing of Trump. Thumbs down. God damn that’s a good memory.

      2. Wow. You really are full retard. I blame both sides. Since both sides are passing the extension.

        Dont follow palin down the child porn path. There might be a small bit of hope for you.

        1. And screwing the American people is bipartisan too. Here are the 4 who did not vote.

          Alexander (R-TN)
          Murray (D-WA)
          Sanders (I-VT)
          Sasse (R-NE)

          1. I am pretty sure all of these idiots made time to posture during the Senate Hearing with Fauci the other day. But vote on something? No time for all that. These people should not be paid. No vote NO PAY. Why are they even there otherwise?

        2. I don’t know Palin, nor do I condone any form of child porn nor anything even remotely like it. That means I also don’t condone comments like “If she wasn’t my daughter, I’d probably be dating her” and would not condone Howard Stern calling my own daughter “a real piece of ass” but hey that’s just me.

          1. Anyone that posts here is called a pedophile if they don’t acknowledge Trump as the greatest top man of all time.

            1. It’s good you recognize your own flaws, buttplug.

            2. You’re the only one who actually posted a link to it you piece of shit.

          2. What if she was a real piece of ass?

  6. So we’re still ignoring the tens of thousands of illegal searches undertaken by the Obama administration, IC, and DNC contractors since 2012?
    The political espionage they cooked up the Russia hoax to cover up for and continue?

      1. Do you get most of your material from Wingnut.Com, Fox News or Alex Jones?

        1. Where do you get your child porn?

          1. His sick ass probably creates it himself in his mom’s basement.

          2. Careful, he WILL post a link.

    1. LOL

      Obama’s only “scandal” was wearing a tan suit.

      1. Hey, a tan suit is proof that you are a Neo-Colonial Muslin Atheist Communist Crony Capitalist Soros minion.

        I read it on Wingnut.Com

        1. So retards still think obama had no scandals. Yeap.

          1. Flynn-gate is certainly no scandal no matter how hard Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson spin it. That skeeby fundie-nut “Christian” was handing out state secrets to Putin’s people. He would have been swinging by his neck 200 years ago.

            1. Lol.

              Jomo, do you get why I tell you to be wary of following Palin as a mentor?

  7. Loudmouth Patti Murray didn’t vote either. Wasn’t she in D.C. yesterday railing about Trump’s failures to boss her own state’s Dept. of Public Health? Give it a week or two and she’ll be adding her shrill voice to those berating the Republicans for not ending warrantless searches.

    1. 49 Senate Republicans voted for warrantless spying on citizens but let’s put the blame on a Senate Democrat who didn’t vote.

      1. And how many House democeats?

        1. His hypocrite ass doesn’t care about them.

          1. He’s probably one of those people that went all gaga for this shit in 2001, simply because it was mostly liberals complaining about the Patriot Act, and therefore he supported it.

            1. Yeap. You’ve gone fill retard.

              C’mon, you can say it. Democrats are also at fault due to the House vote. C’mon little buddy.

            2. I bet you are too stupid to even know who introduced the first FISA bill.

      2. How about both asshole?

      3. Your math is bad. 59 voted to pass the amendment. 37 voted against. 4 abstained or were absent.

        Of the 37 who voted against, 27 were Republicans, 10 were Democrats.

        Of the 59 who voted to pass, 24 were Republicans, 34 were Democrats, 1 was an Independent.

        Of the 4 who abstained or were absent, 2 were Republicans, 1 was a Democrat, and 1 was an Independent (who just ran for POTUS as a Democrat).

        That’s about as bipartisan as you get these days, especially on something that fails or passes by a single vote.

      4. Exactly right, Sarah Palin’s Buttplug! Obviously, the people who voted against the legislation are more responsible than a guy who did not show up to vote, period. To suggest otherwise is obviously wrong, and hacky.

  8. Roll call’s here: https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=116&session=2&vote=00089

    Amazingly, both my worthless, rino-squish Senator, and my worthless milktoast D-Senator voted for this amendment.

  9. Does this matter at all? Why would writing down on a piece of paper that they’re not allowed to do this stop them? It’s written down that only congress can declare war and yet………..

    1. It matters not. If people cannot figure out how to cover their tracks, well good luck.

  10. Sanders is a fraud. Why hasn’t Ron Wyden considered running for President?

  11. “In fact, 10 Democrats helped McConnell bring the amendment down.”
    Da fuck Reason framing this as a partisan issue, instead of two sides of a totalitarian coin versus a few public servants fighting a rearguard action against the gravitational pull of big government. Assholes. “Libertarian” my ass.

  12. Sorry, I can’t help but see this vote as a positive.

    The American people have been asked repeatedly over the past several decades if they want Constitutional protections and they have consistently backed candidates from both parties that support the police state over limited government. We have nothing in common with those who wrote the Constitution and only continue to call ourselves American’s through some accident of history.

    There have been a naive defendants over the past several decades who went to trial thinking they have the same Constitutional rights that police, prosecutors, judges and politicians reserve only for themselves and their friends and families.

    Better to stop pretending like America is anything other than a police state. Given the state of the American Press I have no doubt they would celebrate an end to even the vestige of a Constitution provided Congress reserves the single clause of the first Amendment that specifically protects their freedom in place. They seem to agree with the police state that the rest of the first amendment is to be disregarded and they haven’t read the rest of the Bill of Rights anyway.

    1. ^^^^THIS

    2. While I am sad that this protective legislation didn’t get passed, I am not a fan of legislative cures anyhow, and more laws is kind of the opposite of what I want to happen for the USA. But, that doesn’t make America a police state. Have you ever travelled out of our country? I have and have seen police states, and non police states in person, and the US is a lot better than police states where the cops tote around M16s just so the crowds don’t get too uppity. Yes, we need to defend our liberties, and these things can be a slippery slope. But don’t compare us to places where crap like this on message boards would result in all of us being sent to re-education camps.

  13. Thanks for sharing this information

  14. goddammit.

  15. No doubt that Sanders and Murray should have been there. However, probably would not have mattered as McConnell would have forced one (or more) of the swing state Rs to switch from Yes to No. They would lose their ‘cover’ but Mitch would win. And thats all that matters right?

  16. According to Scott Shackford, Bernie Sanders’ not attending the vote was more important than all of the senators who voted for the legislation. That’s a weird idea. What is it based on? I’m angry that Bernie didn’t show up, but this is gratuitous Bernie bashing.

  17. So this is a renewal of what the feds already have the power to do?

  18. Amazingly, both my worthless, rino-squish Senator, and my worthless milktoast D-Senator voted for this amendment.
    http://www.khatushyamitsolutions.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.