The White House released a statement opposing an amendment to a House bill that would shut down a significant part of the NSA’s surveillance activities.
In the statement, White House spokesman Jay Carney accused Republican lawmakers of trying to “hastily dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools” and said the “blunt approach is not the product of an informed, open or deliberative process.”
The House is preparing to vote on the amendment written by Representative Justin Amash, which would cut off funds to the NSA if it collects data on individuals who are not under investigation. Amash took to Twitter to respond to the White House statement, calling on supporters to contact their members of Congress and express their strong support of the measure.
The amendment would effectively shut down the sweeping Internet and phone data collection program PRISM and those like it.
After hearing the amendment would be given a vote as a part of the Defense Appropriations bill, the White House scrambled to try and defeat it. NSA Director General Keith Alexander went to Capitol Hill for a question and answer session with lawmakers in a classified, members-only briefing.
The decision to release the statement and send Alexander to Capitol Hill to try to quash one amendment of 100 the House is considering demonstrates Obama’s national security teams dependence on the surveillance program.
Regardless, Amash has plenty of support for his view among Republicans, as well as liberal Democrats who have criticized the NSA programs sweeping reach. He won the right to offer the measure on the House floor after stating he had enough support to prevent the Defense bill from moving to the floor.
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