Topics: House of Representatives

NSA amendment draws White House fire

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Beltway Confidential,House of Representatives,Legislation,Ashe Schow,Justin Amash

The amendment by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., to limit the National Security Agency's authority to collect metadata and phone records from individuals not under investigation has prompted the White House to release a statement of opposition.

"We oppose the current effort in the House to hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community's counterterrorism tools," the statement said. "This blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open, or deliberative process. We urge the House to reject the Amash Amendment, and instead move forward with an approach that appropriately takes into account the need for a reasoned review of what tools can best secure the nation."

The statement, put out by the office of the press secretary, claims that the Obama administration has taken "various proactive steps" to advance a debate about how to balance national security and privacy. Those steps, the statement claims, include "the President's meeting with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, his public statements on the disclosed programs, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence's release of its own public statements, ODNI General Counsel Bob Litt's speech at Brookings, and ODNI's decision to declassify and disclose publicly that the Administration filed an application with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."

In other words, the administration has given a lot of speeches on the issue but not offered a plan to placate the Americans who feel their privacy has been violated.

The House plans to vote on the Amash amendment on Wednesday.

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