Is Congress Finally Pushing Back Against Security Agencies' Over-Reach?

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

The last time the U.S. Congress pushed back against the Imperial Presidency and the over-reach of the nation's Security Agencies was 43 years ago, in 1975.

The last time the U.S. Congress pushed back against the Imperial Presidency and the over-reach of the nation's Security Agencies was 43 years ago, in 1975. In response to the criminal over-reach of the Imperial Presidency (Watergate) and to the criminal over-reach of the security agencies (FBI, CIA, et al.), the Church Committee finally resusitated the constitutional powers of the Congress to serve the interests of the citizenry rather than the interests of political elites and the rogue agencies of the federal government.

The erosion of congressional power (or more correctly, the surrender of power by Congress) long pre-dates 9/11. The rise of the Imperial Presidency and the Shadow State of "national security" agencies dates back to World War II. Those interested in tracing this long-term and troubling decline of the constitutional powers of the elected representatives may find value in these two books: The Imperial Presidency (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.) and Takeover: The Return of the Imperial Presidency and the Subversion of American Democracy

The constitution grants the greatest powers to the elected representatives of the citizenry. The power to declare war, for example, has been eroded to the point that the Imperial Executive can wage essentially unlimited wars with little actual oversight by Congress.

There is a bitter irony in the Democrats' rush to "defend" the indefensible over-reach of the FBI and CIA to those whose rights were abused by the FBI and the CIA in the blatantly illegal COINTELPRO programs aimed at destroying the anti-war/ anti-civil rights movements in the 1960s and early 1970s.

(It has been estimated that up to 80% of the FBI's resources were devoted to targeting a handful of draft resisters and civil rights groups in this era. While TV programs presented a propaganda facade of incorruptible crime fighters, in the real world FBI and CIA agents broke into private offices, hired thugs to beat up anti-war leaders, conducted illegal surveillance, and so on.)

The irony is that the agencies the Democrats are now rushing to defend were targeting the "progressives" who dared to resist the foreign policies and domestic oppression of the federal government.

(So much for the bona-fides of the current crop of self-proclaimed "progressives." Those of us hauled in for interrogation by the FBI for resisting state policies have a different definition of "progressive;" note to Democrats: rushing to defend the politicized American Stasi is the opposite of "progressive.")

We know from the Church Committee reports that the FBI and CIA broke numerous federal laws and violated every constitutional limit on their powers as a matter of daily policy. The abuses of power were not the work of rogue agents; they were the work of rogue agencies, from the top down.

For more on COINTELPRO, please read War at Home: Covert action against U.S. activists and what we can do about it and/or Cointelpro: The FBI's Secret War on Political Freedom.

And here we are again, with rogue security agencies abusing their powers. All that's changed is the political parties have switched places; where the Republicans were defending the status quo abuse of power then and the Democrats were pushing for a transparent investigation of the agencies' abuses of power, now it's the Democrats who are defending the agencies' abuses of power while the Republicans are pushing for a transparent investigation of the agencies' abuses of power.

I don't care which party is pushing for the unmasking of these undemocratic Shadow State agencies; I only care that Congress awakens from its decades of surrendering power to the out-of-control "security agencies" and the Imperial Presidency, which characterizes both Democrat and Republican presidents.

The task of uncovering security agencies' abuses of power is made more difficult by the rise of political polarization. Unmasking abuses of power shouldn't be a partisan issue, and the nation's best hope is the rise of independents who view both parties with revulsion born of the status quo's profound failures to defend the rights and livelihoods of the bottom 95%.

I've written extensively about state over-reach and illegal suppression of dissent: remember, the state exists to enforce the dominance of Elites: everything else is propaganda, misdirection and obfuscation.

We're in a Boiling-Point Crisis of Exploitive Elites (June 19, 2017)

Welcome to the United States of Orwell, Part 3: We had to Destroy Democracy in Order to Save It (March 28, 2012)

State Over-Reach: Stripmining the Citizenry for Fun and Profit (November 13, 2009)

When It Becomes Serious, First They Lie--When That Fails, They Arrest You (March 16, 2015)

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Bring the Gold FreeShitter Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:50 Permalink

Yeah I’m sure congress will get right on that. That’s why they withheld Nunes memo until AFTER the FISA vote.

It’s just like Dems are afraid Trump is Hitler hence expanding spying and war making powers. That’s how you “resist” a dictator by giving him all the tools he needs!

It’s all bullshit kabuki theater. One party by the elite wealthy for the elite wealthy. Just ask new media star John Brennan!

In reply to by FreeShitter

Chupacabra-322 Joe Davola Mon, 02/05/2018 - 12:37 Permalink


The National Security Elimination Act of 2018


The United States survived quite nicely for 130+ years with neither a Criminal FBI, CIA, IRS nor the Federal Reserve. Let's return to those better days ASAP.


Would precisely achieve that objective & more by recentrailizing the “Intelligence” Agencies. By Elimination of rouge Criminal Agencies such as the Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopaths at & in the CIA.

So what Criminals at large Obama, Clapper & Lynch have done 17 days prior to former CEO Criminal Obama leaving office was to Decentralize & weaken the NSA. As a result, Raw Intel gathering was then regulated to the other 16 Intel Agencies.


Thus, taking Centuries Old Intelligence based on a vey stringent Centralized British Model, De Centralized it, filling the remaining 16 Intel Agenices with potential Spies and a Shadow Deep State Mirror Government.


And, If Obama, Lynch & Clapper all agreed 17 days out to change the surveillance structure of the NSA. What date exectly did the changes occur in relation to the first FISA request for the Trump Wire Taps? (We now know that the Criminal FISA requests occurred in October 2016.)


Elimination of the Pure Evil War Criminal Treasonous Seditious Psychopaths in the Deep State & CIA.


As easily as The National Security Act was signed in 1947 it can & must be Eliminated.

In reply to by Joe Davola

Give Me Some Truth Bring the Gold Mon, 02/05/2018 - 13:18 Permalink

As we see, the Democrats, liberals and mainstream media are now the most vocal defenders of the secret operations of the FBI, CIA, NSA and The Fed.

This at the same time the press celebrates the courage its ancestors displayed in standing up to the same bureaucracies by publishing The Pentagon Papers and pursuing corruption in Watergate. 

Transparency then, but not needed now!


In reply to by Bring the Gold

JRobby jcaz Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:55 Permalink

Doubtful. But it is a nice thought CHS. CONgress is paid and blackmailed to do what the deep state tells them to do.

We The People are becoming aware so there should be some really good "discoveries" upcoming. I doubt many of these idiots have fail safe "bug out" procedures in place because they only bribe them enough to keep them in order. Of course there is "downward mobility" and a thrifty "public servant' can bug out and never be heard from again. Of course, "thrifty" and "sociopathic psychotic" are not often seen in a single "entity" so..............

In reply to by jcaz

Mike Masr Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:47 Permalink

From Tucker Carlson the other night.

Just listen to Adam Schiff's minion Eric Swalwell (D) California at: 56 seconds in.

Here is another delusional paranoid like Schiff and Rino McCain that see Russians in every shadow.

This fucking jerk Swalwell uses McCarthy like tactics to cast a shadow of suspicion on any American that dare question the Democrats official Russophobic narrative.

At the end of the interview this fucking moron Swalwell accuses Tucker of doing Putin's bidding.

Tucker Carlson clearly outraged ends the interview!

Give Me Some Truth Number 9 Mon, 02/05/2018 - 13:26 Permalink

I wasn't around for the last round of McCarthyism. But I think it worked then just like it is working now.

Anything said that runs counter to the Deep State, neocon agenda is the treasonous spill of Russian-lovers/defenders. So you better not say such things.

Who will stand up to this intimidation? Wasn't there some famous lawyer who told McCarthy, "Sir, do you have no shame?" Where is that guy? Is he still alive?

Assange could maybe say it, but he's in hiding.

In reply to by Number 9

JRobby Mike Masr Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:59 Permalink

Yes, Tucker vs. Robot Boy (not Mr. Robot, make that clear)

Saw this over the weekend. Swalwell, Swallower, Iswallow, whatever his name is. This is a perfect example of what I mention above. By the time this guy figures out that he should have bugged out, he will be in a jail cell with his attorney "arranging bond".

In reply to by Mike Masr

Bring the Gold Winston Churchill Mon, 02/05/2018 - 12:28 Permalink

Anyone on ZH has no excuse for being duped into going after “the blacks”, “random Jews”, “muzzles”, “Mexicans” and “libtards”. If you’re that fucking stupid to go after scapegoats you deserve the totalitarian government you are supporting.


Go after Oligarchs or never again pretend to follow the founding fathers or give a shit about liberty and justice. The foundry father’s would be fucking furious if they saw how things are today and how easily duped idiots are into going after their fellow powerless. Whether it’s idiotic Dems blaming “white men” and “Christians” or republicans blaming “black poor people, Jewish average joes and muddies”. Easier to punch down than to catch a clue and be a real Patriot. 

In reply to by Winston Churchill

mrjinx007 Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:48 Permalink

These agencies were created to do the government dirty work abroad.  Now they have come home to roost and have brought their skills with them to create yet another regime change. 

Mr Cesium VWAndy Mon, 02/05/2018 - 17:37 Permalink

Mr Jinx probably leaned it from the "New Media", you know, the internet, where anyone interested in learning about what the government is/was doing from ex journalists fresh from failed newspapers were doing, but are called TIN FOIL HAT wearing kooks. People thinking that that CNN gaves credible news and info until someone with a cell phone posted a different narrative. Kooky Alex Jones by groping around in the darkness and armed with Gary Allen 'Conspiracies' made a name for himself constantly bullhorning a super corrupt establishment getting some things right. Now feeling a rising threat the establishment quislings are infusing the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act into this 'New Media' structure (flat earth), like an injection you get from the clinic, are hoping that they can shut the lights off again. Hell, they are even paying people with no morals, ethics and traitorously sell their own moms, to go online with sockpuppet accounts and spew divisive dribble. I'm guessing schools now a days are filled with a different narrative serving their 'writers' such as the cultural engineering taking place. You are not suggesting we subjugate ourselves to it, are you?

In reply to by VWAndy

Number 9 Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:51 Permalink

c'mon Vlad, just do it already.. you know sooner than later you will have to take out the parasites in dc and israel..

we wont even hold it against you..

taketheredpill Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:56 Permalink

At some point that "% Independent" breakdown will spin off into a real new party (not Koch brothers).  Then the Dem/Rep parties are fucked.

The question at this point is, is there anything the DemReps parties can do to stop a third party from getting established?


OverTheHedge VWAndy Mon, 02/05/2018 - 12:30 Permalink

As an outsider looking in, it seems to me that the insane amounts of money needed in US politics precludes any outsider from entering the race, and even if they do, the new party will be bought out by the incumbent oligarchs, and business as usual will prevail. Until you can accept that money<>votes, then you are always going to be stymied.

The term "Free and fair elections" is a hint - it's not "Extraordinarily expensive, yet still fair, we promise, elections"

In reply to by VWAndy

nuerocaster Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:57 Permalink

We need to make our overseas crime syndicate more crime syndicate like and a lot less hands on old style colonialism.

This is the real priority, the real deal that will not only cut costs but ease domestic pressurization.

Forget all this pie in the sky back to pre WWII, pre FDR, back to free enterprise America.

The anti-Federalists lost, the Confederacy lost. It's ironic that "modern" America proved them right about almost everything except slavery.

But hey you gotta learn to laugh.

Number 9 Mon, 02/05/2018 - 11:59 Permalink

Steele was hired by private firm Fusion GPS in June 2016 to gather information on alleged links between Trump and Russia. His dossier, parts of which were leaked to the media before the elections, was the basis for the warrant to spy on Trump adviser, Carter Page, according to the memo released on Friday.

The report alleges that there was a circular flow of information between Clinton associates and Steele. Foreign sources provided the information to an unnamed associate of Hillary and Bill Clinton, who then gave the information to an unnamed official in the Obama State Department, who would then pass the information to Steele.

“It is troubling enough that the Clinton Campaign funded Mr. Steele’s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility,” the report states.

“It appears that either Steele lied to the FBI and the British court, or that the classified documents reviewed by the Committee contain materially false statements,” the report states.



 unnamed associate of Hillary and Bill Clinton= Sid Blumenthal..

at the bottom of the sewage swamp rests the tribe.

TuesdayBen Mon, 02/05/2018 - 12:02 Permalink

I think we'd get along just fine if US intel/security was scaled back 90%.

And as to this spying against Trump that took place using US intel resources - I think I know where this scandal, these investigations, are headed.  This spying wasn't some accident, it was orchestrated.  I think we'll probably learn it has been going on for years under Rice, Power, Rhodes, Lynch, Comey, Brennan, Clapper.  And I think we'll learn that not only did Obama know about it the entire time, he was the driving force behind it.  Why would anyone doubt it - he's a thoroughly dishonest son of a bitch.  He wouldn't acknowledge that he was hanging with domestic terrorists, that he was hanging in a racist 'church', that his utterance 'my Muslim faith' to George Snufflophagus reflected reality, that Barack Obama Sr. was not his biological father....

Ol' Big Ears himself.  ObamaGate.

messystateofaffairs Mon, 02/05/2018 - 12:15 Permalink

No. The cockroaches in Congress and the "security" agencies are owned by their Jewish vampires who have bought and paid for them. The Russiagate campaign is backfiring so some goats need to be sacrificed to minimize blowback least people should start asking specifically (((who))) owns these cockroach whores, presstitutes included. Its easy for the vampires to get more cockroaches as long as they themselves remain undetected.

two hoots Mon, 02/05/2018 - 12:16 Permalink

Comey's "that's it" displays the arrogance and disinterest in constitutional values we hold true as a protection from the id of such fools.  

Opulence I Has It Mon, 02/05/2018 - 12:22 Permalink

They aren't pushing back against shit.  Pushing back infers that they are trying to reclaim powers granted to the legislature, which would require hard work.  Hard work is kryptonite to a legislator, they can't even write a law, have to have lobbyists do it for them.

They are trying to protect the existing order from the Great Disruptor, Trump.  That's all this is.  For the sake of the nation, pray that they fail.

BetweenThe Coasts Mon, 02/05/2018 - 12:46 Permalink

3 letters = NSA

2 words = Control Files

Congress will never ever exert its authority to clean up the evil we are in.

And sorry Mr. Smith, "the nation's best hope" are not Independents working within the system. The best hope is for citizens to take back control of Local and State power.

Give Me Some Truth Mon, 02/05/2018 - 13:31 Permalink

Watch the Nightly News tonight and then tomorrow. Read all the MSM papers tomorrow and Wed a.m. See how much coverage "the memo" gets. This will tell us how likely it is that this story is going to lead to any real change or further inquiries.

Arrow4Truth Mon, 02/05/2018 - 13:39 Permalink

Evidently the "security agencies" have trans-gressed their intended purposes... to support the con. Con-gress, meaning con - to instill confidence in order to steal, and gress - derived from Latin gred meaning step or step across. The "security agencies" no longer provide security for the thieves to continue their confidence game to steal from the unsuspecting victims.