I think this was an important way to signal to the administration that reform of this program is necessary. I think that ensuring that at every step of this process there is an independent judicial or quasi-judicial official making determinations about the appropriateness of the seizure or collection of that information should be a sort of standard requirement.

SEGAL: That we got so much support even in the face of desperate lobbying by the White House, Democratic and Republic leadership, and the NSA proper, demonstrates that our position is very strong, and that we have a great chance of repealing some of these programs, even through the legislative process. (I’d previously thought that we were much more likely to have success through the courts than through Congress.)

We’re working with other groups to coordinate rallies and other shows of displeasure at the reps who voted against us this week, in hopes of swinging the seven or so votes we’d need to win next time.

To win would be wonderful for Rhode Islanders and all Americans alike. We should all be terrified of mass surveillance run by a state with increasing corporatist and authoritarian tendencies. Power structures use surveillance to protect themselves by stamping out dissent — and that’s been the history of the use of surveillance in America throughout the 20th and 21st centuries: to mess with labor, anti-war activists, anti-racism advocates, and even Occupy.

There are no known terror plots of any sort that have targeted Rhode Island, that I’m aware of. Even the claims relative to the couple of domestic plots that were supposedly stymied by some of these surveillance programs are dubious.

NOTE: Though they voted separately on the Amendment, both Cicilline and Langevin signed — along with 151 members of the House Democratic Caucus — Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi’s July 26 letter to President Obama asking for review of bulk metadata collection and the transparency and operations of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) courts.

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