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House Votes Down Crucial Amendment Designed to Halt NSA Warrentless Surveillance of Americans

"The Fourth Amendment does not have an asterisk that says our intelligence agencies don’t have to follow it."

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) declared during the floor debate ahead of the vote, "The Fourth Amendment does not have an asterisk that says our intelligence agencies don’t have to follow it."

Over the objection of privacy advocates and dashing the hopes of civil libertarians, the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday voted down an amendent to a controversial bill that would have made it harder for intelligence agencies and law enforcement from sweeping up and accessing massive amounts of data on American citizens without a warrant.

In a final vote of 233 to 183, the amendment submitted by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) was defeated despite its proponents arguing that its protections were vital in order to maintain the government's mandate to uphold the 4th Amendment of the Consitution which prohibits search and seizure absent a judicial warrant or probable cause.

Digital rights groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which had lobbied in favor of the Amash amendment, voiced disappointment in the result:

According to EFF, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) "said it best" during the floor debate ahead of the vote when he declared, "The Fourth Amendment does not have an asterisk that says our intelligence agencies don’t have to follow it."

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