Nsa reforms will pass found a sweet spot Obama is key

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Text: The President of the United States should issue an executive order that it will not indefinitely detain individuals captured in the U.S. because of Muslim charity contributions nor will it detain humanitarian health workers globally. The President should give a public speech confirming the shift in policy and commit to following the practice.


NSA reforms will pass – found a sweet spot – Obama is key

ROLL CALL 3 – 25 – 14 [Hill’s Bipartisan Deadlock on Phone Records May Be Easing, http://blogs.rollcall.com/hawkings/obama-nsa-reform-plan-could-ease-congressional-deadlock-on-spying/]
Eight months ago, in one of its most important and fascinatingly nonpartisan votes of recent memory, the House came up just seven members short of eviscerating the government’s vast effort to keep tabs on American phone habits.

The roll call revealed a profound divide in Congress on how assertively the intelligence community should be allowed to probe into the personal lives of private citizens in the cause of thwarting terrorism. It is a split that has stymied legislative efforts to revamp the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection programs.

Until now, maybe. Senior members with jurisdiction over the surveillance efforts, in both parties and on both sides of the Hill, are signaling generalized and tentative but nonetheless clear support for the central elements of a proposed compromise that President Barack Obama previewed Tuesday and will formally unveil by week’s end.

The president, in other words, may be close to finding the congressional sweet spot on one of the most vexing problems he’s faced — an issue that surged onto Washington’s agenda after the secret phone records collection efforts were disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

If Obama can seal the deal, which he’s pledged to push for by the end of June, it would almost surely rank among his most important second-term victories at the Capitol. It also would create an exception that proves the rule about the improbability of bipartisan agreement on hot-button issues in an election season.

“I recognize that people were concerned about what might happen in the future with that bulk data,” Obama said at a news conference in The Hague, where he’s been working to gain support for containing Russia from a group of European leaders who have their own complaints about U.S. spying on telephone calls. “This proposal that’s been presented to me would eliminate that concern.”

The top two members of the House Intelligence Committee, GOP Chairman Mike Rogers of Michigan and ranking Democrat C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, introduced their own bill to revamp surveillance policy Tuesday — and declared they expect it would track very closely with the language coming from the administration. They said they had been negotiating with White House officials for several weeks and viewed the two proposals as compatible.

At their core, both the Obama and House bills would end the NSA practice of sucking up and storing for five years the date and time, duration and destination of many millions of phone calls placed or received by Americans. Instead, the phone companies would be required to retain this so-called metadata (and comparable information about email and Internet use) for 18 months, their current practice. And the government would have to obtain something like a search warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, meaning in each discreet case a judge would limit how deeply the telecom companies would have to query their databases in hopes of finding calling patterns that suggest national security threats.

Since both Rogers and Ruppersberger have been prominent defenders of the bulk collection system, any agreement they reach that has Obama’s blessing can be expected to pass the House.

It should garner support from a lopsided majority of the 217 House members (three-fifths of the Republicans and two-fifths of the Democrats) who voted to stick with the status quo last July. And it stands a chance to win over at least some on the other side — an unusual coalition of 94 mostly libertarian-leaning tea party Republicans and 111 liberal Democrats, who say NSA searches of the databases should be limited to information about existing targets of investigations.

But one leader of that camp vowed to work for the defeat of any measure that looks like either the Obama or Intelligence panel plans. Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who as chairman of House Judiciary a decade ago was instrumental in writing the Patriot Act, believes that law has been grossly misapplied by the NSA to invade personal privacy much too easily.

Sensenbrenner said he would continue to push his measure to almost entirely prevent the NSA from looking at telecommunications metadata. But the sponsor of the companion Senate bill, Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., said he would remain open to finding the makings of a deal in the Obama plan. Leahy signaled the legislative negotiating would be much smoother if Obama suspended the bulk data collection during the talks.

Much more enthusiastic was Calfornia’s Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who said she generally supports the House proposal and views Obama’s plan “a worthy effort.” Her committee’s top Republican, the retiring Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, was a bit more equivocal but gave a strong indication he was eager to cut a deal based on the ideas from the House and the White House.

There are plenty of important points over which to haggle: about the ways the metadata is to be retained, the format for FBI to view the information, the liability for the telecommunications companies, the specificity of the search requests and the reach and secrecy of the judicial oversight.

And the American Civil Liberties Union said it had already found enough differences between the two measures unveiled Tuesday to give its “crucial first step” blessing to the Obama plan while rejecting the Rogers-Ruppersberger bill. The ACLU said that proposal would end up expanding the FBI’s investigative reach instead of limiting it.

But in a year when all sides say they are still ready to share the credit for at least one more top-tier legislative accomplishment, the knot over surveillance may be starting to unravel.

PLAN slays Obama’s agenda

LOOMIS 7—Visiting Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and Department of Government at Georgetown University [Dr. Andrew J. Loomis, “Leveraging legitimacy in the crafting of U.S. foreign policy”, March 2, 2007, pg 36-37, http://citation.allacademic.com//meta/p_mla_apa_research_citation/1/7/9/4/8/pages179487/p179487-36.php
Declining political authority encourages defection. American political analyst Norman Ornstein writes of the domestic context, In a system where a President has limited formal power, perception matters. The reputation for success—the belief by other political actors that even when he looks down, a president will find a way to pull out a victory—is the most valuable resource a chief executive can have. Conversely, the widespread belief that the Oval Office occupant is on the defensive, on the wane or without the ability to win under adversity can lead to disaster, as individual lawmakers calculate who will be on the winning side and negotiate accordingly. In simple terms, winners win and losers lose more often than not. Failure begets failure. In short, a president experiencing declining amounts of political capital has diminished capacity to advance his goals. As a result, political allies perceive a decreasing benefit in publicly tying themselves to the president, and an increasing benefit in allying with rising centers of authority. A president’s incapacity and his record of success are interlocked and reinforce each other. Incapacity leads to political failure, which reinforces perceptions of incapacity. This feedback loop accelerates decay both in leadership capacity and defection by key allies. The central point of this review of the presidential literature is that the sources of presidential influence—and thus their prospects for enjoying success in pursuing preferred foreign policies—go beyond the structural factors imbued by the Constitution. Presidential authority is affected by ideational resources in the form of public perceptions of legitimacy. The public offers and rescinds its support in accordance with normative trends and historical patterns, non-material sources of power that affects the character of U.S. policy, foreign and domestic.

NSA scandal being unhandled risks a rupture in trans-atlantic ties

HEUSER 13 executive director of the Washington, DC-based Bertelsmann Foundation [Annette Heuser, Euractive, The erosion of the transatlantic trust, 10/25/13 http://www.euractiv.com/global-europe/erosion-transatlantic-trust-analysis-531335]
Allegations of the NSA's tapping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone have yet to be proved, but the agency's spying is already causing unprecedented damage to the trans-Atlantic relationship. The controversy has festered for five months, but it reached a new peak with yesterday's call from the chancellor to President Barack Obama. Her message to the president, who is increasingly besieged by his closest allies: Spying on her or her government is unacceptable.

Three things are remarkable about this recent development.

First, the chancellor is known to be a cautious political leader. She takes time to determine her course of action and then still proceeds carefully. But her quick and personal involvement in placing a call to her friend, Barack, would not have occurred if the German intelligence service had not provided her with robust information about US hacking.

Second, President Obama's reportedly cool response to the chancellor reconfirms the skepticism of European leaders and the broader European public about the commander-in-chief's commitment to the trans-Atlantic relationship. Mr Obama is increasingly perceived as a leader who does not see the need to nurture ties with his closest allies or even establish close political ties to his counterparts in Europe and elsewhere. The president is the first in the post-war era who does not appear to be a trans-Atlanticist at heart.

Third, the Obama administration continues to underestimate the short- and long-term effects of the NSA scandal on the trans-Atlantic relationship. Europe is now united in its repugnance of American spying practices, and this abhorrence goes beyond any personal targeting of the German chancellor or her government. Europeans feel that Washington has disregarded and disrespected their privacy, which they, in general, safeguard more than Americans do.

The latest allegations mean the US has likely crossed a line. A European response is now coming, and it will be a collective one. Negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) may be put on hold. There have already been calls among high-ranking European officials to do so.

A recent Bertelsmann Foundation study estimated a TTIP could create 740,000 new American jobs. Putting such a deal in jeopardy means the potential loss of a significant economic boon and the only prestigious project in which the US and Europe are currently engaged.

The NSA scandal and its (mis)management by the White House are causing a political tsunami in Europe. Until now it was the Iraq War that defined the recent nadir in trans-Atlantic relations. But that disagreement concerned military intervention. This time the fundamental issue of trust is at hand, and that means the consequences of a rupture are more severe. Americans and Europeans have been profoundly successful over the past seven decades establishing the close ties that, at least until recently, have bound them together. Nothing short of a profound and tragic break in that fragile tradition could now be unfolding.


Stivachtis 10 – Director of International Studies Program @ Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University [Dr. Yannis. A. Stivachtis (Professor of Poli Sci & Ph.D. in Politics & International Relations from Lancaster University), THE IMPERATIVE FOR TRANSATLANTIC COOPERATION,” The Research Institute for European and American Studies, 2010, pg. http://www.rieas.gr/research-areas/global-issues/transatlantic-studies/78.html]

There is no doubt that US-European relations are in a period of transition, and that the stresses and strains of globalization are increasing both the number and the seriousness of the challenges that confront transatlantic relations.

The events of 9/11 and the Iraq War have added significantly to these stresses and strains. At the same time, international terrorism, the nuclearization of North Korea and especially Iran, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the transformation of Russia into a stable and cooperative member of the international community, the growing power of China, the political and economic transformation and integration of the Caucasian and Central Asian states, the integration and stabilization of the Balkan countries, the promotion of peace and stability in the Middle East, poverty, climate change, AIDS and other emergent problems and situations require further cooperation among countries at the regional, global and institutional levels.

Therefore, cooperation between the U.S. and Europe is more imperative than ever to deal effectively with these problems. It is fair to say that the challenges of crafting a new relationship between the U.S. and the EU as well as between the U.S. and NATO are more regional than global, but the implications of success or failure will be global.

The transatlantic relationship is still in crisis, despite efforts to improve it since the Iraq War. This is not to say that differences between the two sides of the Atlantic did not exist before the war. Actually, post-1945 relations between Europe and the U.S. were fraught with disagreements and never free of crisis since the Suez crisis of 1956. Moreover, despite trans-Atlantic proclamations of solidarity in the aftermath of 9/11, the U.S. and Europe parted ways on issues from global warming and biotechnology to peacekeeping and national missile defense.

Questions such as, the future role of NATO and its relationship to the common European Security and Defense policy (ESDP), or what constitutes terrorism and what the rights of captured suspected terrorists are, have been added to the list of US-European disagreements.

There are two reasons for concern regarding the transatlantic rift. First, if European leaders conclude that Europe must become counterweight to the U.S., rather than a partner, it will be difficult to engage in the kind of open search for a common ground than an elective partnership requires. Second, there is a risk that public opinion in both the U.S. and Europe will make it difficult even for leaders who want to forge a new relationship to make the necessary accommodations.

If both sides would actively work to heal the breach, a new opportunity could be created. A vibrant transatlantic partnership remains a real possibility, but only if both sides make the necessary political commitment.

There are strong reasons to believe that the security challenges facing the U.S. and Europe are more shared than divergent. The most dramatic case is terrorism. Closely related is the common interest in halting the spread of weapons of mass destruction and the nuclearization of Iran and North Korea. This commonality of threats is clearly perceived by publics on both sides of the Atlantic.

Actually, Americans and Europeans see eye to eye on more issues than one would expect from reading newspapers and magazines. But while elites on both sides of the Atlantic bemoan a largely illusory gap over the use of military force, biotechnology, and global warming, surveys of American and European public opinion highlight sharp differences over global leadership, defense spending, and the Middle East that threaten the future of the last century’s most successful alliance.

There are other important, shared interests as well. The transformation of Russia into a stable cooperative member of the international community is a priority both for the U.S. and Europe. They also have an interest in promoting a stable regime in Ukraine. It is necessary for the U.S. and EU to form a united front to meet these challenges because first, there is a risk that dangerous materials related to WMD will fall into the wrong hands; and second, the spread of conflict along those countries’ periphery could destabilize neighboring countries and provide safe havens for terrorists and other international criminal organizations. Likewise, in the Caucasus and Central Asia both sides share a stake in promoting political and economic transformation and integrating these states into larger communities such as the OSCE.

This would also minimize the risk of instability spreading and prevent those countries of becoming havens for international terrorists and criminals. Similarly, there is a common interest in integrating the Balkans politically and economically. Dealing with Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as other political issues in the Middle East are also of a great concern for both sides although the U.S. plays a dominant role in the region. Finally, US-European cooperation will be more effective in dealing with the rising power of China through engagement but also containment.

The post Iraq War realities have shown that it is no longer simply a question of adapting transatlantic institutions to new realities. The changing structure of relations between the U.S. and Europe implies that a new basis for the relationship must be found if transatlantic cooperation and partnership is to continue. The future course of relations will be determined above all by U.S. policy towards Europe and the Atlantic Alliance.

Wise policy can help forge a new, more enduring strategic partnership, through which the two sides of the Atlantic cooperate in meeting the many major challenges and opportunities of the evolving world together. But a policy that takes Europe for granted and routinely ignores or even belittles European concerns, may force Europe to conclude that the costs of continued alliance outweigh its benefits.

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