Court order allows NSA spying to continue
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) granted the federal government's request to allow the National Security Agency to continue gathering Americans' phone records in bulk and with little oversight -- at least until June 1st:
The extension is the fifth of its kind since Obama said he would effectively end the Snowden-exposed program as it currently exists during a major policy speech in January 2014">2014. Obama and senior administration officials have repeatedly insisted that they will not act alone to end the program without congress">Congress.
"While the administration waits for the Congress to act, it has continued to operate the program with ... important modifications in place," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement released late Friday.
More than a year's worth of efforts to reform the NSA stalled last year, as the Senate came two votes short of advancing the USA freedom">freedom">Freedom Act in November. The measure failed to overcome a filibuster by republicans">Republicans, many of whom warned any limitation imposed on the NSA could bolster terrorist groups like the Islamic State.
It is widely expected that lawmakers will reintroduce versions of the Freedom Act in the new Congress, but no bill has emerged so far. Core parts of the post-9/11 Patriot Act will sunset on June 1, including Section 215, which grants the NSA legal authority to conduct its controversial dragnet surveillance program.
Obama won't act unless Congress does, and Congress can't seem to get its act together.
Meanwhile, your phone and online activity are still open to government snoops who aren't sure what to do with all that data, but will scream if anyone tries to take it from them.
Your tax dollars at work...