The Blaze –
While the most talked-about news out of the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday was the defeat of the so-called Amash amendment that would have defunded the NSA’s massive data collection program, another amendment related to NSA spying was quietly passed overwhelmingly by lawmakers.
The Pompeo amendment (championed by Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas) passed the House with a bipartisan vote of 409-12. However, “no one is talking about it,” Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) told TheBlaze on Thursday.
The amendment that passed is reportedly intended to “ensure none of the funds may be used by the NSA to target a U.S. person or acquire and store the content of a U.S. person’s communications, including phone calls and e-mails.”
In contrast, the Amash amendment sought to “end authority for the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. It would also bar the NSA and other agencies from using Section 215 of the Patriot Act to collect records, including telephone call records, that pertain to persons who are not subject to an investigation under Section 215.”
Culberson told TheBlaze in a phone interview why he supported the Pompeo amendment over the more sweeping amendment authored by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.).
He argued the amendment properly requires that no funds can be used by the NSA to collect or store the content of American citizens’ communications data. This includes phone calls and emails. The amendment; however, does not seem to restrict the NSA’s ability to continue collecting and storing massive amounts metadata.
The Amash amendment would have prevented the NSA from using any funds to collect any data on persons that are not under investigation.
“This would protect the data of terrorists who are operating sleeper cells in this country and make us vulnerable to future terrorist attacks,” Culberson said of the Amash amendment, adding that it “would do nothing to reform the NSA surveillance program and would do nothing to ensure that the privacy of American citizens is protected.”