House leadership is trying to ram through a reauthorization of FISA and PATRIOT Act surveillance authorities using an obscure Congressional mechanism

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Late last night, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) scrapped a vote to reauthorize PATRIOT Act surveillance powers. The decision came after the California democrat killed pro-privacy amendments supported by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate, causing a massive backlash among human rights advocates, journalists, and Internet users everywhere. President Trump even chimed in, threatening to veto any reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act that failed to include privacy protections.

But today, Washington, DC insiders are reporting that Nancy Pelosi is using a Congressional procedure called a conference committee to force the House to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act without consideration of any amendments. Not only would this prevent the House of Representatives from voting on the popular Wyden-Daines amendment which would force the government to obtain a warrant before spying on people’s Internet activity, but it would also prevent the House from ratifying the Lee-Leahy amendment which has been passed by the Senate to protect journalists, political candidates, and religious groups from government surveillance.

Nancy Pelosi has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration, calling the president an “ongoing threat to our national security” and accusing Attorney General William Barr of “deeply damaging the rule of law.” So why would she work so hard to torpedo popular, bipartisan amendments that would protect the American public from dangerous government overreach?

It doesn’t make sense.

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