Wednesday night by a 12 vote margin the Amash Amendment failed and nearly defunded domestic unconstitutional surveillance currently being done by the NSA. This thoroughly bi-partisan effort of 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats, had come so close to being successful despite leadership of both parties had pressured their rank and file members to oppose the amendment. If it is so essential for the security of the nation (though I do not hold the opinion that there is even an external existential threat to America) to disregard the fourth amendment then make the argument, and repeal the amendment. Until the fourth amendment is repealed, then any and all general searches without a warrant or "particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized" is unconstitutional. Under the Patriot Act's section 215 the activities of the NSA wholesale surveillance of the American public (or just the Americans with internet access and conducted telephonic communications) were illegal*; rather than stop this illegal action it is the bi-partisan defense of the criminal activity both within the Congressional leadership and the executive branch (the activity started before Barack Obama was inaugurated), that 'secrecy is needed but trust us it is all legal'. When someone shows themselves to be a liar, it is sage advice to believe that they are liars; when intelligence community keeps perjuring themselves in front of congressional hearings going back as far as the 1970's with the Pike and Church Hearings, then we the American people should take as a fact that clandestine services and those individuals speaking on their behalf are not to be trusted.
The President's statement refer the Amash amendment as a "...hastily [attempted effort] to dismantle one of our Intelligence Community’s counterterrorism tools" as if the previous 5 years that he was unaware of what was being done in the American people's name is the reason that unconstitutional surveillance should continue. On January 21, 2009 when the President began his first term he may have not had the same reaction as the American public or their 205 members of the House that was shocked that the actions taken supposedly for the benefit of the American people were actually being done to the American people, but to claim that no action should be taken to reform the intelligence gathering of America's "enemies" after it turned out to be the American people themselves being "enemies" is ridiculous and sickening. What the President and the other defenders of constitutional debasement need to be reminded that their positions do not exist to hide decisions from the hoi poloi but instead to allow the American people make educated decisions when they mark their ballot as well as redress their government and participate in their own government in between elections.
*(b)(2) shall specify that the records concerned are sought for an authorized investigation conducted in accordance with subsection (a)(2) to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.