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S. 754 / H.R. 2029

Privacy and Control: CISA

CISA was reintroduced and passed -- secretly buried in a 2000 page budget bill.

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The Nasty Parts Exposed: NSA Chief Divulges Truth about "Reporter Shield" Law

This bill is truly a wolf in sheep's clothing. A look into the bill's text shows that while we are told it would protect reporters and their sources, it actually guts the 1st Amendment and the protective role of the press.

by Loyal 9 staff

Obama wreckingball loyal9org

“No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will” (Thomas Jefferson).

“In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors...The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people” (Justice Hugo L. Black).

It seems that our current elected officials and their appointees don't agree. NSA Chief Keith Alexander said, “I think we are going to make headway over the next few weeks on media leaks. I am an optimist. I think if we make the right steps on the media leaks legislation, then cyber legislation will be a lot easier” (quoted from Micheal Iotfi at BenSwann.com). The media, to him, is obviously a hurdle to be chained so he can then have free reign for the next step in the plan.

This media leak bill he is gloating about at a private conference is the "Free Flow of Information Act" -- such a benevolent name.

Yet, while the general inadvertently admits its true insidious intent, its handlers in the house and senate such as Feinstein and Schumer are carefully selling it as a protector of reporters and their sources, hitting the talk shows to call it "a reporter shield law" and claim it protects reporters and their sources. Since when did "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom...of the press" need a bill to support it?

The reality is it actually limits who counts as "Press" deserving of this sacred protection and also inserts a long list of circumstances where the Constitutional protection doesn't apply after all.

The bill seems to begin well. "A Federal entity may not compel a covered person to comply with a subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process seeking to compel the disclosure of protected information." Sounds good so far -- except that term "Covered Person"

Then the very next line undercuts everything "...Unless a Federal court in the jurisdiction where the subpoena, court order, or other compulsory legal process has been or would be issued..." compels them to. What the hell!?! So, reporters are protected unless there is a court order.

Reporters and sources are protected from these subpoenas, though, it says -- but only until the government "has exhausted all reasonable alternative sources (other than a covered person)." Yes, that parenthetical phrase is theirs. In other words, the various government entities won't get subpoenas for reporter sources unless they feel they need it. The standard to determine if the reporter's information must be turned over to the department of justice: the Attorney General's office. Themselves.

The nastiness of this bill in undermining the press continues with a list of exceptions of when the press protections do not apply. This list, on the surface, does indeed make us think that out of a sense of our goodness and duty that the list is necessary and reasonable: terrorist and child exploiters, for example. However, where is that line? Who decides? What Rights will one trade for security?

Section 6 continues the undercutting of the first amendment, listing who is NOT protected at all in maybe the most outrageously blatant bait and switch of all: communication service providers. Yes, that is what that means. If the reporter won't give up the source, it doesn't matter. The government just has to grab the phone and internet records. Big brother has been officially adopted into the family.

Section 11.2 finally gets around to defining "Covered Persons," an amendment that comes from California senator Diane Feinstein. The definition of covered person provides its small protection for traditional news services (with all of the above non-protective exceptions). It circumscribes out bloggers and much of other alternative media sources.

Feinstein insisted that legal limits apply only to "real reporters," and dismissed other writers as "a 17-year-old with his own website." "I can't support it if everyone who has a blog has a special privilege … or if Edward Snowden were to sit down and write this stuff, he would have a privilege. I'm not going to go there," she said. Senator Lindsay Graham smirks, “Is any blogger out there saying anything — do they deserve First Amendment protection?"

Senator Schumer says he has sixty votes lined up already from both parties to pass this bill.

Join Loyal 9 in demanding our elected officials make the right choice. Send your letter and spread the word, whether on your own or through our act-in-seconds mechanism. Remember that, according to senate staffers, each letter counts in their mind as representing a thousand voters. They need to know we are watching.


25 Mar 2014
at 05:37PM

Here is Holder's official Attorney General's Office support of the bill -- not sure when we started "balancing" the Constitution: T"he Department is pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee will be considering this bill, which strikes a careful balance between safeguarding the freedom of the press and ensuring our nation's security and the safety of the American people."

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

- Buddha (563BC-483BC)

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L9 Member Highlight

Haven't we been pre-warned about sacrificing freedoms in exchange for security? We must understand that the freedom is inherently ours and not given to us by any man or form of government.

- Brian, MO