Tag Archives: Thomas Massie

Reps. Amash, Massie Blast Congressional Spending Bill for ‘Unconstitutional’ Surveillance Measures

The last-minute addition of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015 to a massive Congressional spending bill has drawn criticism from Representatives who call the provisions unconstitutional, and say that they are an excuse for the U.S. government to expand warrantless domestic cyber surveillance.

In a statement to Truth In Media on Thursday, Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said he does not support the bill, and he sees it as possibly the “worst anti-privacy vote” since the Patriot Act in 2001.

[pull_quote_center]A vote for the omnibus is a vote to support unconstitutional surveillance on all Americans. It’s probably the worst anti-privacy vote in Congress since the Patriot Act.[/pull_quote_center]

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) released a statement on his Facebook page on Wednesday, claiming that he learned of the addition of the “completely unrelated legislation to expand warrantless domestic cyber surveillance” on Tuesday night.

[pull_quote_center]We learned last night that in addition to unsustainable spending, the giant omnibus includes completely unrelated legislation to expand warrantless domestic cyber surveillance and to repeal country of origin labeling for meat sold in the U.S. I will be voting no on Thursday.[/pull_quote_center]

The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 brings together provisions from other bills that have been passed in either the House or the Senate in 2015, such as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) and the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which both give the U.S. government access to Internet traffic information from technology and manufacturing companies.

[RELATED: Surveillance Bill Masked As ‘Cybersecurity’ Close to Completion]

As previously reported, while “sharing of intelligence is supposed to be voluntary,” critics of the bill say the provisions “will only increase the indiscriminate monitoring of legal activity by giving companies immunity from lawsuits for sharing information with the government.”

Amash told Truth in Media he believes the surveillance provisions were “quietly slipped” into the massive spending bill in an attempt to “avoid full scrutiny.”

[pull_quote_center]These provisions were quietly slipped into the omnibus to avoid full scrutiny. We take an oath to defend the Constitution, and our Fourth Amendment privacy protections are as important as anything.[/pull_quote_center]

IVN: 5 Politicians Taking A Stand Against More Surveillance After Paris

By Carl Wicklander  Since the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, various mainstream news outlets have noted that the politics of surveillance have shifted. A shift would indicate that instead of rolling back surveillance policies in favor of more privacy, more invasive policies could be enacted.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio used the attacks to accuse fellow Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul of forcing a “weakening of our intelligence-gathering capabilities” that ultimately “leaves America vulnerable.” Yet despite this shift, there are still at least 5 politicians who remain consistent about surveillance after Paris.

1. U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03)

On Twitter, Amash, a noted critic of surveillance policies, wrote of Rubio’s support for a bill to extend the bulk collection of metadata that was a key provision of the Patriot Act:

.just cosponsored bill to extend unconstitutional spying on all Americans. He’d fit right in with GOP of past.

2. U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (KY-04)

The Kentucky representative told ABC News over Thanksgiving weekend how the immediate aftermath of a tragedy is the time when the government tries to capitalize on citizens’ fears to expand its power:

“Within six weeks of 9/11 they passed the Patriot Act. And it’s only natural they would try to do the same thing this time.”

3. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (KY)

Calling the argument that the Paris attacks required more surveillance “bullshit,” Sen. Paul also noted that surveillance policies of the past and present did not stop the Paris attacks:

“They are collecting your phone records as we speak, they did not miss a beat, even though we voted on reform, all your phone records are being collected and stored in Utah. Did it stop the attack in Paris? No.”

4. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (TX)

One of the candidates attacked by Rubio for opposing Patriot Act bulk collections, Cruz responded that his rival:

“…is trying to respond to the criticism that he has received that he is not willing to protect the Fourth Amendment privacy rights of law-abiding citizens.”

Separately, Cruz posted one of his endorsements on Twitter which noted his role in passing the USA Freedom Act:

“[Cruz] will use every tool we have to win, but he will never betray the very Constitution we are sworn to defend.”

Even before its passage, there was fierce debate about how much privacy the Freedom Act provided Americans, but Cruz’s positions have indicated that more surveillance is not the answer.

5. U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (OR)

The Oregon Democrat has long been a critic of Washington’s surveillance policies. Echoing some of the sentiments of Paul and Massie, Wyden explained that broadly-defined powers are not even effective, which was also the case in France where an aggressive surveillance law was passed following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January:

“While some people seem eager to seize on this crisis to resurrect failed policies of the past, the facts show mass surveillance doesn’t protect us from terrorist attacks.”



Republished with permission by IVN.

Massie on the 28 Pages: Documents Will Challenge Americans to Rethink 9/11

Fourteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Washington continues to hide the truth about 9/11 and the FBI cover-up.

Truth in Media has reported extensively on the allegations that the government of Saudi Arabia financed the 9/11 hijackers and  why the U.S. government wants to protect them.

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) posted on Facebook today to challenge Americans to rethink 9/11.

“The families of the victims deserve to know more. My constituents deserve the truth. As a Congressman, I had access to the documents, and while reading them I had to stop every few pages to rearrange my understanding of history for the past 14 years and the years leading up to the attack. It challenges you to rethink everything,” wrote Massie.

Massie is referring to 28 pages from the 9/11 report that are still classified by the Obama administration.

Massie stated that if the public knows the truth about the events that led up to the 9/11 attacks it could change U.S. foreign policy.

“The declassification of the pages would provide valuable information as we craft foreign policy moving forward. Before we further involve ourselves overseas with the intent to prevent another 9/11, Congressmen and their constituents need to know more about the events leading up to 9/11. Understanding what enabled this tragedy to occur is fundamental to drafting a strategy for the Middle East,” wrote Massie.

So why doesn’t the U.S. want to release the 28 pages? According to former Senator Bob Graham, The U.S. government doesn’t want the public to know that the Saudis financed the 9/11 attacks because we provide the Saudis with billions in military aid.

Graham told Truth In Media that the 28-pages are just the tip of the iceberg.

Graham said that there are over 80,000 pages of classified documents that shows connections involving a Sarasota, Florida family, the 9/11 hijackers, and the Saudi government. Graham said that the FBI went beyond cover-up to “aggressive deception.”

Listen to our exclusive interview with former Senator Bob Graham here.

Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook has also interviewed Congressmen Mark Sanford and Walter Jones on sponsoring H. 14, a resolution that seeks to declassify the 28-pages.

Rand Paul To Force The Expiration of NSA Spy Program

Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul (R-KY) will be spending Sunday forcing the expiration the Patriot Act’s surveillance provisions.

On Saturday, Paul made a declaration to refuse to allow any votes that would extend current law beyond its June 1st expiration, as well any votes for the USA Freedom Act that would reform portions of the Patriot Act.

Paul’s statement is in full below.

“I have fought for several years now to end the illegal spying of the NSA on ordinary Americans. The callous use of general warrants and the disregard for the Bill of Rights must end. Forcing us to choose between our rights and our safety is a false choice and we are better than that as a nation and as a people.

That’s why two years ago, I sued the NSA. It’s why I proposed the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. It’s why I have been seeking for months to have a full, open and honest debate on this issue– a debate that never came.

So last week, seeing proponents of this illegal spying rushing toward a deadline to wholesale renew this unconstitutional power, I filibustered the bill. I spoke for over 10 hours to call attention to the vast expansion of the spy state and the corresponding erosion of our liberties.

Then, last week, I further blocked the extension of these powers and the Senate adjourned for recess rather than stay and debate them.

Tomorrow, we will come back with just hours left before the NSA illegal spying powers expire.

Let me be clear: I acknowledge the need for a robust intelligence agency and for a vigilant national security. I believe we must fight terrorism, and I believe we must stand strong against our enemies.

But we do not need to give up who we are to defeat them. In fact, we must not.

There has to be another way. We must find it together. So tomorrow,

[bctt tweet=”I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program. @RandPaul”]

I am ready and willing to start the debate on how we fight terrorism without giving up our liberty.

Sometimes when the problem is big enough, you just have to start over. The tax code and our regulatory burdens are two good examples.

Fighting against unconditional, illegal powers that take away our rights, taken by previous Congresses and administrations is just as important.

I do not do this to obstruct. I do it to build something better, more effective, more lasting, and more cognizant of who we are as Americans.”

Joining the fight against Patriot Act surveillance extension is Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI), who has been attending the House of Representatives’ pro forma sessions to block Speaker John Boehner from using low turnout to hold voice votes to extend the legislation’s spying provisions. Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) has joined Amash in keeping watch over a mostly empty House floor. “It only takes one of 435 members to be here on the floor of the House to stop something from passing on unanimous consent,” said Massie.

Exclusive Interview: Congressman Walter Jones Discusses The Battle To Declassify 28-Page 9/11 Report

On the death certificates of victims of 9/11, the causes of death are identified as homicides. The families of those homicide victims are demanding answers and the declassification of 28 pages of a 9/11  congressional investigation report.

Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) are sponsoring a bill to declassify those pages from the report entitled “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.”

BenSwann.com’s Joshua Cook spoke with Representative Jones about those 28 pages.

“We have put in this new resolution, asking the President to keep his promise to the families of the 9/11 tragedy have been calling for this to be declassified ever since the report has been made public,” said Jones.

Jones said he doesn’t know why President Bush decided to classify those pages, or why President Obama continues the embargo.

“If I was in the shoes of President Obama, he has no reason to not declassify this information,” he said. “If any family that could be embarrassed, it’s the Bush’s, but why should he care about that?”

“Not implying that there was anything illegal, but if you remember, there were relationships with the Bush administration and the Saudi king. In fact there are pictures of President Bush holding the King’s hand while they were walking in an area of Crawford, Texas,” he said.

And that’s what Jones says is in those pages.

“There is nothing in the 28 pages about national security. Absolutely nothing. It’s all about relationships and whether those relationships participated financially in seeing the 9/11 tragedy becoming a reality by supporting those people intended to do harm,” he explained.

“How can a nation remain free if the American people don’t know the truth about a tragedy like 9/11?” He questioned.

For now, Jones, with his cosponsors, continues to fight for declassification and encourages Americans to visit www.28pages.org and to write or call (202-224-3121) their elected officials to support House Resolution 428 to encourage the President to declassify.

“He promised the 9/11 families on two separate occasions. These occasions were reported in the print media that he would declassify this information. Stephen Lynch and I wrote a letter in April 2014, asking the administration to please keep their promise to the 9/11 families and the promise to the American people and declassify this information,” he said.

“To this day, we have not gotten a response,” he added.

Rep. Jones asked, “How can we have a sound foreign policy when we don’t know who are friends are?” During the interview, Jones cited an important article by the New York Times entitled “Moussaoui Calls Saudi Princes Patrons of Al Qaeda” which points fingers at the Saudi government. 

Rep. Jones encouraged Sen. Rand Paul to offer up a companion resolution for H. Res. 428 and encouraged Paul to make releasing the 28-pages a campaign promise if he decides to run for President in 2016.

Listen to Joshua Cook’s entire interview with Congressman Walter Jones below:

Watch Out! More Gun Laws In Sight in 2015

Representative Mike Honda (D-California) is taking aim at the Second Amendment with 3 proposed bills, which include making it illegal to make your own gun at home.

“These bills are sensible, reasonable measures to limit the damage that can be inflicted by guns and those who mean harm with them,” Congressman Honda said. “We have seen too many people injured and killed by guns to just stand by and do nothing. These bills will modernize our gun laws to reflect how weapons are currently getting into the wrong hands.”

The three bills include:

The Responsible Body Armor Possession Act – This bill allows law enforcement to respond to active shooting situations more effectively. The bill prohibits the purchase, sale, or possession of military-grade body armor by anyone except certain authorized users, such as first-responders and law enforcement.

The Homemade Firearms Accountability Act – This bill will require that guns that are self-assembled or manufactured at home be regulated the same as those that are purchased. It will require that all homemade guns have serial numbers, so if they are used in the commission of a crime, the police are able to trace the bullet back to the weapon.

The Home-Assembled Firearms Restriction Act – This bill will ban the sale and purchase of “incomplete lower receivers,” which are easily purchased and converted into functioning firearms. Banning these transactions would severely reduce the number of untraceable weapons on our streets.

“We need a common sense approach to reduce gun violence,” Congressman Honda said. “These bills can make our streets safer, and protect our citizens, police, and first responders. I will continue to fight for sensible public safety laws.”


Rep. Thomas Massie stated on Facebook that he would oppose all three bills.

Rep. Justin Amash Joins Call For New House Speaker

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) provided a statement ahead of today’s vote for House Speaker thanking John Boehner for his service but called for a change in leadership in a Facebook post:

Republicans have a historic opportunity in this Congress. We can pass significant legislation and push President Obama to the bargaining table for the first time in his presidency. We can uphold the Constitution and the Rule of Law. We can expand liberty and economic freedom for all Americans.

Our success is not assured. To accomplish our goals, we need sound strategy, crisp messaging, and a commitment to running the House as a deliberative body in which all its diverse voices are heard. Committees must be given enough time to do their work. Rank-and-file members must have sufficient time to read and debate legislation that can profoundly affect the lives of our constituents.

We have been told much over the last few years about opening up the House’s legislative process and returning to regular order. Yet time and again, it seems that Congress governs by crisis and raw partisanship.

Our party and our country are different than they were a generation ago. Americans at home have learned from the policy mistakes our Congress has made over the last few decades. It’s not clear that the men and women in congressional leadership have done the same. To appeal to more Americans and better reflect today’s Republicans, we need modern leaders who respect the diversity of ideas within the House of Representatives.

Speaker Boehner has been the leader of our party in the House for eight years. We have welcomed at least three large waves of new representatives during that time. Republican conference rules limit chairmen to six years in their offices to promote fresh thinking and new priorities. We should apply those same principles to all our party’s leaders.

The speaker of the House has one of the most challenging jobs in government. Speaker Boehner has given his best to our conference, and I thank him for his service. But it’s time for Republicans to change our leadership. This afternoon, I will vote for a new speaker.

Amash has joined several other Republicans in publicly stating their intent to vote for a new House Speaker: Reps. Jim Bridenstine, Marlin Stutzman, Thomas Massie, Ted Yoho, Steve King, Louie Gohmert, Walter Jones, Dave Brat, Paul Gosar, Rep.-elect Gary Palmer, Curt Clawson, Randy Weber, and Jeff Duncan have stated they will vote for someone other than Boehner.

The Washington Post reports that a minimum of 29 House Republicans would need to vote against Boehner in order to have a second ballot.

Gohmert and Yoho offered themselves as alternatives to Boehner over the weekend. “We’ve heard from a lot of Republicans that ‘Gee, Id rather vote for somebody besides Speaker Boehner, but nobody will put their name out there as running, so there’s nobody else to vote for. Well this changed yesterday when my friend Ted Yoho said ‘I’m putting my name out there, I’ll be a candidate for Speaker’ and I’m putting my name also out there also today to be another candidate for Speaker,” Gohmert told Fox News on Sunday.

According to Politico, those against Boehner’s reelection believe that neither Yoho and Gohmert will win, but are hopeful that if the election moves to a second ballot they may be able to find a new Speaker. Boehner’s supporters have stated that they will continue to vote for Boehner until the opposition concedes.

Disrupt Podcast: John Ramsey Talks About Getting Funding For Liberty Candidates

In this episode of the Disrupt Podcast, Ben Swann interviews John Ramsey from the Liberty for All Action Fund about empowering people to influence political elections by starting at the local level, and then moving up to the national level.

Swann pointed out that with the current state of politics, there is a left/right paradigm present that requires a lot of money, but seems to be “designed to keep anything from actually changing.”

“Getting money out of politics is not an easy thing, and it seems like no matter how much money goes in, nothing changes,” said Swann. “Maybe for some, that’s kind of the point.”

Ramsey, who is currently working to foster liberty on the local level, explained that at Liberty for All, they are trying to “elect the next generation of liberty-leaning candidates,” by focusing on early presidential primary states where they can elect candidates who will have influence in the Republican nominee, and keep the influence away from candidates like Mitt Romney or John McCain, “who have no shot in the general election going forward.”

Swann noted that there was more that needed to be done at the state level, due to the fact that local state legislatures have a great deal of power, and are currently using it to “quash entrepreneurism,” by using regulations and association groups to hinder the ability of individuals to “rise through the system.”

Ramsey agreed, saying that by starting at the state level, they are “crushing two birds with one stone,” due to the fact that at that level, “you can actually get real policy done.”

Ramsey used the example of Arizona, where state legislators are currently working to nullify Obamacare. He pointed out that all over the country, both people and donors are beginning to realize that they can get “more bang for their buck” at the state level.

“People like Justin Amash, Thomas Massey, and Rand Paul, can do some really good stuff from a messaging perspective, and that’s what the national scene should be for, more of a marketing platform,” said Ramsey. “But if we’re serious about legislation, we should be focusing on the state level.”

Swann pointed out that there are states like Ohio, which is “as red as you can be, in terms of a red state,” that have done things such as adopting common core standards, creating multi-levels of taxes, and making trade associations that prevent individuals from starting small businesses.

“Just because the state is red, does not mean that it is embracing liberty,” said Swann. “In fact, many of these state legislatures across the country are simply fighting for who’s going to control the gears of power over people’s lives.”

“Businesses are voting with their feet,” said Ramsey, who explained that a lot of businesses are moving to states like Texas, which offers a “fairly generous climate for entrepreneurs and businesses.” Ramsey added that he works regularly on recruiting businesses from California to Texas, due to the fact that in California, businesses are “paying more than half their income to the government,” and are not about to operate.

Swann noted that the reason Texas is succeeding, is due to the fact that in the United States, there are 50 individual states act as laboratories “to legislate as they see fit,” and that while Texas is “having great success on its own,” it is also “influencing other states to take a look at their policies.”

Ramsey mentioned that Liberty for All is currently focusing states like New Hampshire, where there is a “culture of liberty.” He noted that during the 2014 midterm election cycle, Liberty for All was “successful in about 30 races,” and was a “key component in helping that legislature flip from blue to red,” in a way that promoted what is “good for small businesses, good for families, and good for entrepreneurship.”

Swann pointed out that the state shift in New Hampshire was one of the “untold stories of the 2014 midterms,” due to the fact that mainstream media in the U.S. was not interested in the narrative of it, and did not find it exciting.

Swann said that New Hampshire was also unique, because in addition to liberty-oriented red candidates, it also has “a fair number of liberty-oriented blue candidates.

“We’re about principles, not parties,” said Ramsey, who went on to say that he believes that the two-party paradigm has hurt America by fostering a dangerous philosophy that promotes collectivism.

Swann mentioned the fact that there are two kinds of donors, when it comes to politics: the kind who give lots of money so that nothing changes, because they like they system as it is, and the kind who want to see the country take a different path.

Ramsey agreed, saying that the donors, who are looking for more than just an investment that will benefit only them, are “few and far between.”

“They just want to see liberty for future generations out there,” said Ramsey. “They don’t want to see an environment in which lobbyists are winning, they want to see an environment in which entrepreneurs are winning, and philanthropists are winning.”

Ben Swann: Is Rand Paul The Face Of “Justice” In The GOP?

Ben Swann, filling in for Steve Malzberg on NewsMaxTV interviewed contributing editor of Rare.us and former aide to Sen. Rand Paul, Jack Hunter. Hunter joins Ben to discuss his Politico column, “What Rand Paul Can Teach the Republican Party about Race”. The discussion covers whether Sen. Paul and Congressmen such as Rep. Thomas Massie and Rep. Justin Amash will be able to bring a sense of justice to the GOP.

Congressman Massie: ‘Anger, Frustration, Embarrassment’ When Redacted Portion of 9/11 Report Is Released


Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie said that U.S. citizens should have to right to read the 28 redacted pages from a report investigating the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Appearing on The Glenn Beck Program, he said there will be “anger, frustration, and embarrassment when these 28 pages finally come out.”

Despite those negative emotions, Massie is fighting for the document’s release.

As reported previously on Benswann.com, Massie, Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA) are sponsoring a bill to unclassify those pages from the report entitled “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.” Without disclosing specifics, the report said investigators found “information suggesting specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were in the United States.”

Massie has read those pages. To do so, he had to sit in a soundproof room and not take any notes.

“It is sort of shocking when you read it. As I read it, we all had our own experience. I had to stop every couple of pages and absorb and try to rearrange my understanding of history for the past 13 years and the years leading up to that. It challenges you to rethink everything,” he said at a press conference discussing the bill.

Massie encourages everyone in Congress to read those pages.

“Based on my reading of the documents, I am confident that making these 28 pages public would not damage our national security. I challenge all of my colleagues in Congress to read the 28 pages on behalf of their constituents and to cosponsor this bill. Understanding what enabled this tragedy to occur is fundamental to drafting a strategy for avoiding another tragic event,” said Massie.

Massie told Glenn Beck that “if we’re going to use 9/11 as a motivation to get involved in these civil wars in the Middle East,” the American public and the lawmakers in Washington “need to read these pages and understand what truly caused 9/11 and who our friends are and who our enemies are.”

During the bill’s press conference Lynch explained more about those page: “These aren’t pages that were simply redacted,” said Lynch. “These 28 pages were actually removed before the work was presented to the general public.” Lynch said that these pages would allow survivors to have better understanding of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 when nearly 3,000 people were killed. Besides looking back in hindsight, Lynch said these pages provide a foreign policy understanding that has “an instructive value going forward,” he explained.

Jones added that knowing the truth is central to a strong nation: “I don’t think a nation like America will remain strong if we do not demand the truth. We need you to put pressure on your representatives back home to join in this effort for the truth.”

 A grassroots organization has launched a website with step on how you can get your U.S. Congressman involved. Check 28Pages.org here.


Author’s note.

The only positive response that I have received from South Carolina Congressmen so far is from Congressman Mark Sanford. I asked him if he was planning to read the 28 pages? He replied, “absolutely.”

That’s a positive first step in helping the 9/11 families get the justice they deserve. Please email me if your Congressman has committed to become a co-sponsor of H Res. 428.


Rep. Massie on shocking 9/11 documents: “It challenges you to re-think everything”

In March Benswann.com reported that Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY), Walter Jones (R-NC), and Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), , along with families who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001, urged the president to declassify 28 pages from the 9/11 congressional investigation report, providing more information to the general public.


On Friday Rep. Massie commented on his Facebook page:

“Before we involve ourselves in #Iraq, Congressmen and their constituents need to know more about the events leading up to 9/11. Understanding what enabled this tragedy to occur is fundamental to drafting a strategy for the Middle East.

That’s why I joined families of 9/11 victims and Congressman Walter Jones and Congressman Stephen Lynch at a press conference to promote the release of 28 classified pages from an official 9/11 report. Based on my reading of the documents, I am confident that making these 28 pages public would not damage our national security.”

During a press conference in March Rep. Massie said, “As I read it, and we all had our own experience, I had to stop every couple of pages and just sort of try to absorb and try to rearrange my understanding of history. “It challenges you to re-think everything. I think the whole country needs to go through that.”

Watch the video below:



Thomas Massie Leads House to Pass Limits on NSA Spying

Ever since whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the fact that the National Security Agency has been engaging in widespread, warrantless spying on American citizens, civil liberties advocates have been pushing for Congress to pass restrictions on the program. At first, reformers rallied around the USA Freedom Act, a bill intended to terminate the NSA’s bulk collection of cell phone metadata and to bring transparency to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. However, last-minute backroom deals with the intelligence establishment weakened the bill so severely that early supporters and civil liberties proponents like Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI) ultimately ended up voting against it.

However, late last night, Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) introduced an amendment to the 2015 Defense Appropriations Act that would restrict the NSA’s ability to perform warrantless backdoor searches of users’ data and would prohibit the agency from compelling online services to create workarounds that allow it to bypass encryption methods meant to protect sensitive information. The restrictions on warrantless backdoor searches would stop the NSA’s bulk collections of email content, search histories, and chat records, which are currently ongoing.

Zoe Lofgren originally told US News and World Report that she wasn’t certain that the amendment would pass. However, the bipartisan civil liberties coalition acted swiftly, mobilizing interest groups to push constituents to contact representatives and using parliamentary measures to bring the amendment to a vote immediately. Said Representative Massie of the effort, “It was to our benefit that it moved quickly without a lot of advance notice, because [opponents] didn’t have time to mount a disinformation campaign. We had just enough time to rally the outside groups and constituents, and they lacked just enough time to counteract that.”

Ultimately, the Republican-controlled House passed the amendment, with 293 voting in favor and 123 voting against. Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was just elected House Majority Leader, opposed the measure in defiance of the majority of House members and his own party. In order to become law, the language must also be adopted by the Senate and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

This historic vote represents the first time that Congress has successfully passed serious restrictions on the NSA’s bulk collection of data on Americans following Edward Snowden’s revelations about the program. The amendment technically modifies section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which had been used “unconstitutionally,” according to the Electronic Freedom Foundation, to collect domestic data on American citizens. Language similar to the amendment had originally appeared in the USA Freedom Act before it was removed during negotiations. Though the amendment does not comprehensively solve all of the issues brought forward by Edward Snowden, civil liberties advocates are heralding this vote as a major victory and turning point in the battle to limit the NSA’s ongoing spying operations against American citizens.

Massie Backs Fellow Liberty Caucus Member Raul Labrador


Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie is backing fellow Republican Liberty Caucus member and Tea Party favorite Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, to fill the House Majority Leader chair left vacant by Eric Cantor, who lost in a primary.

According to Cincinnati.com, Massie warned the GOP should not ignore the call for a change in leadership that Republican voters in Virginia sent on Tuesday by electing Tea Party favorite David Brat over Cantor.

“It’s never happened before where a majority leader has lost a primary,” Massie said. “These are extraordinary circumstances. It presents us with an extraordinary opportunity. Some say Raul is an underdog and doesn’t have as much of a chance of winning as Kevin. I say he has a Dave Brat chance of winning.”

House Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., joins Labrador as the only Republicans who have announced they want to be considered for the House Majority Leader position.

Republican lawmakers will decide June 19 with a secret ballot.

The Republican Liberty Caucus released the following statement regarding Labrador:

“Labrador’s election as Majority Leader,” according to RLC National Chair Matt Nye, “would represent an acknowledgement by House members that Eric Cantor’s primary loss last week is a sign that new ideas are gaining influence in the Party. More and more, Republicans are asking that the Party return to its small government roots, and Labrador represents that element of the Party well.”

“After Labrador’s name was mentioned as a potential candidate for Majority Leader, the RLC National Board looked at the options, reviewed Labrador’s history—which includes a 90% rating on the RLC’s most recent Liberty Index—and determined that Labrador was an exceptional candidate for the position.”

Thomas Massie Eats Hemp On “The Independents”

Congressman Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky) appeared on “The Independents”, a libertarian-leaning talk show airing on Fox Business, to discuss the Drug Enforcement Administration’s efforts to impede agricultural research of hemp in Kentucky.

“I’m asking the President, maybe somebody didn’t get the memo at the DEA, because he’s not enforcing the marijuana laws in other states. Why is he enforcing a hemp law that no longer applies after the Farm Bill was passed and he signed it?” Massie told host Kennedy after taking a bite out of an energy bar filled with hemp seeds on the air.

Kentucky made the beginning steps to legalize industrial hemp with the passing of SB 50 in 2013, although the bill had been passed on the condition that the federal government needed to lift its national ban. In February of this year, President Obama signed a Farm Bill that partially lifted the federal ban, allowing hemp cultivation for research purposes.

Last week, after 250 pounds of hemp seeds were ordered from Italy and headed to the University of Kentucky, the DEA intercepted the shipment and seized the batch of seeds, triggering a lawsuit from the state of Kentucky.

Massie explained that the DEA has no authority to attempt to dictate what hemp bill’s language means to the cosponsors of the bill – “we wrote it,” he said- then told the hosts of the show what the hemp bill really means:

“Get out of Kentucky, let us grow our hemp.”

Follow Annabelle on Facebook and Twitter.

Congressman Thomas Massie Endorses Lee Bright for U.S. Senate

Upstate Senator Lee Bright picked up another impressive Congressional endorsement Wednesday, as Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie officially threw his support behind Bright’s campaign.

“Today I am happy to announce my endorsement of Lee Bright for United States Senate,” said Congressman Massie in a statement, adding, “There are several good candidates challenging the status quo in this race, but it is time for conservatives to rally around the clear leader in this battle. It’s time to make a change, and we must unite against the Washington establishment if we are to prevail. I am certain that Lee Bright will stand strong for our Constitution in Washington, because he has a proven record of defending liberty in the South Carolina Senate. Based on my conversations with him, I am confident that Lee Bright will be a steadfast ally of true conservatives like Senator Rand Paul, Senator Mike Lee and Senator Ted Cruz. He has my full support.”

Bright welcomes this strong support, saying, “Our campaign is honored to have such a strong endorsement from Congressman Massie. He represents the positive change that started coming to Washington over the past few elections. I can’t wait to get up there and join Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee in moving that change forward in the Senate. I know Thomas Massie will be doing the same in the House. These are trying times for so many Americans, and Washington is the main reason why.”

Bright went on to say, “It’s obvious that Lindsey Graham has no clue what our government is doing to our citizens, and he has no idea the genius and leadership being shown by Senators Cruz, Lee and Paul. That’s why South Carolinians are going to retire him this year.”

Bright has dominated polls and endorsements among a crowded field of challengers to Lindsey Graham for the Republican nomination to the U.S. Senate.

Note: This is a press release from Team Bright.

Raw Milk Could Become Available Under Proposed Legislation

Congressman Thomas Massie (Republican–KY), Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (Democrat –ME) and a bipartisan coalition of 18 other lawmakers have introduced legislation to improve consumer food choices, including access to raw milk, and to protect local farmers from federal interference. The two bills – the Milk Freedom of Act of 2014 and the Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014 – are the first in Massie’s series of “food freedom” bills he plans to introduce.

Massie has a unique perspective: “As a producer of grass-fed beef, I am familiar with some of the difficulties small farmers face when marketing fresh food directly to consumers. Our bills would make it easier for families to buy wholesome milk directly from farmers by reversing the criminalization of dairy farmers who offer raw milk,” said Massie. “The federal government should not punish farmers for providing customers the foods they want, and states should be free to set their own laws regulating food safety.”

Although Congress has never passed legislation banning raw milk, the federal Food and Drug Administration has used their regulatory authority to prosecute farmers for selling raw milk. Raw milk is fresh milk that has not been pasteurized and contain beneficial nutrients that have not been eliminated by the pasteurization process.

The Milk Freedom Act of 2014 would provide relief to local farmers, small producers and others who have been harassed, fined and in some cases even prosecuted for the “crime” of distributing unpasteurized milk. This bill would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products.

Likewise, the Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014 would prevent the federal government from interfering with trade of unpasteurized, natural milk or milk products between states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal.