The House is scheduled to vote on Wednesday on amendments to the FY 2014 Defense Appropriations Bill, one of which will be the LIBERT-E Act, which would prohibit the National Security Agency from collecting telephone and e-mail meta-data from American citizens who are not under investigation. Representative Justin Amash, a libertarian Republican from Michigan, introduced the amendment in an effort to curtail the agency’s controversial data-collection activities, which were disclosed earlier this year by fugitive ex-NSA-contractor Edward Snowden.
The House Rules Committee’s decision to allow a vote on the amendment represents a victory for Amash, if probably just a procedural one. As Jonathan Strong reported in the Corner on Friday, after House leaders initially delayed consideration of the amendment, Amash signaled that he and several other libertarian Republicans might vote with House Democrats against the bill — they could well have brought it down.
Meanwhile, the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim reports this morning that General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, has scheduled a meeting with several members of Congress in an effort to build opposition to the amendment. According to HuffPo, the invitation to House members read in part:
In advance of anticipated action on amendments to the DoD Appropriations bill, Ranking Member C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of the House Intelligence Committee invites your Member to attend a question and answer session with General Keith B. Alexander of the National Security Agency.