Finally, a violation of rights Diane Feinstein cares about

  • Article by: AN EDITORIAL , San Jose Mercury News
  • Updated: March 13, 2014 - 1:01 PM

When she's the one being snooped on, well, that goes too far. The California senator should broaden her concerns.

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In this March 11, 2014, photo, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, leaves the chamber just after saying that the CIA's improper search of a stand-alone computer network established for Congress has been referred to the Justice Department, at the Capitol in Washington.

Photo: J. Scott Applewhite, AP

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Dianne Feinstein apparently didn’t care about government snooping until it happened to her.

The California senator who chairs the powerful Senate Intelligence Committee has been unapologetic in her support for the National Security Agency’s spying on Americans. But now we find she has zero tolerance for the CIA’s alleged hacking into her committee’s computers and possibly removing documents pertinent to an investigation.

Feinstein’s request for an FBI inquiry into the CIA’s conduct deserves support. It might be easier to obtain if she’d made even a token gesture to rein in the NSA’s persistent overreaches.

But her proposal to reform the NSA is “a joke,” says the author of the Patriot Act, Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner.

He says her idea of reform only confirms that “there is no limit — apparently, according to the NSA — on what they can collect. That has to be stopped.”

It’s been nine months since Americans learned that the NSA is collecting and storing information about phone calls, including whom people call and from where they’re calling. The agency also has been monitoring texts and emails that originate abroad.

When veteran senators including Arizona’s John McCain demanded that a special committee investigate the NSA, Feinstein blocked them. She rejected President Barack Obama’s suggestion that any data collected could be held by telecommunications firms for use by the NSA if the need was shown.

Feinstein’s bill would just codify the NSA’s practices into law, including a green light for continued hacking through tech companies’ encryption to cull data. The cost to the tech industry from NSA spying has been estimated at nearly $200 billion by 2016. European and Asian customers understandably don’t want U.S. products if their security is suspect.

Yes, the CIA’s shenanigans should be investigated. But Feinstein should show the same level of concern for other Americans’ privacy rights as she demands for her committee’s.

 

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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