Can Congress Effectively Oversee the Vast Surveillance State?

According to a new report from the Associated Press, the Senate Intelligence Committee is creating a sort of "secret encyclopedia" of America's surveillance programs.

Surprisingly, this hasn't picked up as much media attention as it should.

What the report actually tells us, without directly saying so, is Congress isn't capable of conducting informed, effective oversight of the surveillance state.

Despite calling Snowden's actions "treason" at the time, it's clear that Feinstein and other members of Congress were completely unaware of the foreign surveillance being conducted under Executive Order 12333 -- and would never have learned of the programs being carried out by a small number of Executive Branch employees without his whistleblowing activities.

Of course, what ought to upset us all is how the Intel Committee members HAD been briefed on some of the most controversial intelligence programs such as the surveillance of American's phone records and the PRISM program and other than Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, none of them seemed to be overly concerned about how Americans' civil liberties were being routinely violated.

It should be clear to honest observers, the Church Committee reforms adopted in the 1970's to restrain the surveillance state have failed to do so.

It's time for radical reform.

The first step should be for Congress to refuse to reauthorize the expiring provisions of the so-called "PATRIOT" Act and IRTPA in June.

Then, Congress should immediately thereafter pass H.R. 1466, the Surveillance State Repeal Act, to outright repeal the USA PATRIOT Act and the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, among other necessary reforms.

But Congress isn't going to do this just because it'd be the "right thing to do."

As we've seen time and again, if Congress is going to take action, it will be because the American people DEMANDED they take action!

Take a moment to sign your petition against ANY renewal of the NSA's massive spying programs. Then contact your representative and DEMAND they do something to stand up for your civil liberties today by cosponsoring H.R. 1466.

Snowden did us all a great service by providing the American people the facts they needed about how their privacy was being violated. Now it's up to you and I to do something about it! Let's not have it all be in vain.

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