According to Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, he and other lawmakers are urging President Donald Trump to pardon whistleblower Edward Snowden before leaving office, and it is something that he is seriously considering.
In a previous press conference, Trump said that he was seriously looking into the case, which he noted is very controversial, with both Democrats and Republicans split on the issue.
Some people think he’s a hero, and others think he is a villain, and there are people with both perspectives in each political party.
President Trump is listening to the many of us who are urging him to #PardonSnowden
It’s the right thing to do. https://t.co/5roORsl9W6
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) December 13, 2020
Earlier this year, a federal appeals court ruled that the NSA’s controversial spying program was illegal in the first place.
This is the same program that Edward Snowden blew the whistle on in 2013. The landmark ruling even added that the spying program may have been unconstitutional.
The court’s ruling was written by Judge Marsha Berzon, who decided that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, didn’t allow for the bulk collection of phone users’ call records, as the US government claimed at the time.
“The metadata collection exceeded the scope of Congress’s authorization,” she wrote in her ruling.
The main problem is that FISA did not allow for bulk collection, only targeted collection of known suspects. The law “required the government to make a showing of relevance to a particular authorized investigation before collecting the records,” according to Berzon.
Judge Berzon went on to say that there is no evidence that the spying program actually did anything to prevent a single case of terrorism, and that US officials misled the public about the program’s effectiveness.
Edward Snowden blew the whistle on illegal government activity kept secret for years.
Our democracy is better off because of him. https://t.co/cG4vp4m1vD
— ACLU (@ACLU) December 14, 2020
“To the extent the public statements of government officials created a contrary impression, that impression is inconsistent with the contents of the classified record,” she wrote, according to CNet.
The NSA claims that they have since canceled the spying programs in question, but many privacy advocates suspect that they are still engaged in very similar activities, if not more invasive spying now that the technology has advanced.
Snowden is still facing criminal charges under the Espionage Act. He is currently living in exile in Russia, where he got stuck and remained while attempting to evade US authorities after the now-infamous leak.
Last year, Snowden published an eye-opening memoir about his time in the intelligence community and his decision to tell the world about the massive surveillance state that had been created by the United States government. The book, called “Permanent Record,” quickly rose to the top of the charts as soon as it was released, but as expected, the United States government was not very happy that it was being published.
On the day that the book was released, the US government filed a lawsuit against Snowden, claiming that he violated non-disclosure agreements that he signed with both the CIA and NSA when he was employed with the agencies.
The information contained in the book must not be too sensitive at this point, because the lawsuit is not seeking to block publication of the book, but is looking to intercept all of the money that is made from the sales.
Nancy Pelosi Reelected As House Speaker In Narrow Vote
Nancy Pelosi won another term as Speaker of the House of Representatives on Sunday, after a narrow vote.
80-year-old Pelosi will hold the position for a second consecutive two-year term and fourth overall, having previously been elected in 2007, 2009 and 2019.
Pelosi has served as a US representative from California since 1987. A member of the Democratic Party, she is the only woman in U.S. history to serve as Speaker and, until the inauguration of Kamala Harris as Vice President, is the highest-ranking female elected official in United States history.
— Kaivan Shroff (@KaivanShroff) January 3, 2021
As House speaker, Pelosi is second in the presidential line of succession, after the vice president.
During her first speakership, she was instrumental in the passage of many of the Obama administration’s landmark bills, including the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the 2010 Tax Relief Act.
BREAKING: The floor of the House of Representatives erupts in applause as Rep. Nancy Pelosi is reelected as speaker of the House for the 117th congress, with 216 votes. https://t.co/z1mlyK1BJN pic.twitter.com/6Wdt3N9ulD
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) January 3, 2021
Pelosi lost the speakership in 2011 after the Republican Party won a majority in the House of Representatives in the 2010 elections.
She retained her role as leader of the House Democratic Caucus and returned to the role of House minority leader. In the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats regained control of the House.
When the 116th Congress convened on January 3, 2019, Pelosi was again elected speaker, becoming the first former speaker to return to the post since Sam Rayburn in 1955.
Under Pelosi’s leadership, the House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on December 18, 2019.
Despite supporting the $2000 checks for struggling Americans, Pelosi, along with everyone in congress have provoked anger from citizens who see them as being out of touch with the average people.
The nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics (CRP) estimated in 2009 that Pelosi’s average net worth was $58 million which ranks her 13th among 25 wealthiest members of Congress.
Roll Call said Pelosi’s earnings are connected to her husband’s heavy investments in stocks that include Apple, Disney, Comcast, and Facebook. Roll Call reported that the Pelosis have $13.46 million in liabilities including mortgages on seven properties.
According to Roll Call, Pelosi and her husband hold properties “worth at least $14.65 million, including a St. Helena vineyard in Napa Valley worth at least $5 million, and commercial real estate in San Francisco”.
FAA Responds To Numerous Reports Of A UFO Over Hawaii
The FAA was notified after multiple people reported seeing an Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) in the sky over Leeward Oahu on Tuesday evening. Witnesses all over the region called into 911 at around 8:30 p.m.
Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said that there were no aircraft incidents or accidents in this area at the time of the reports, but multiple witnesses reported seeing a large blue object fall out of the sky and into the ocean.
Some of the witnesses managed to get video or photos of the incident.
Witness Misitina Sape told Hawaii News Now she captured a photo of the object at 8:26 p.m. near Haleakala Avenue in Nanakuli.
Another witness named Moriah said she had never been a believer in UFOs until she saw the object fall from the sky.
“I started calling my husband and them because they were all in the garage. I was like hey. Come look up there. See if you see what I see. They all said yea!” Moriah said.
They jumped in the car to follow the object and see what it was.
“I don’t know what it was,” she said. “This one was going so fast.”
About three miles down the road, they saw the object fall into the water.
She said that it was larger than a telephone pole but didn’t make any sound when it hit the ground.
“We called 911,” Moriah said, “For have like one cop or somebody for come out and come check em out.”
She also says that they saw another light in the sky after the blue object fell into the water. She says that police saw the second light as well.
“My husband went look up and he seen the white one coming,” she said. “The white one was smaller. Was coming in the same direction as the blue one.”
FAA spokesperson Ian Gregor said the agency received a report from police Tuesday night about a possible plane down in the area “but had no aircraft disappear off radars. And no reports of overdue or missing aircraft.”
Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced the formation of a new task force that will be studying UFOs or “Unidentified Flying Objects.”
The formation of this new task force was revealed last year when the Pentagon acknowledged that military pilots were encountering aircraft that might not have been made by humans.
The new task force was officially revealed to the public after the Pentagon released declassified videos that appeared to show government aircraft interacting with UFOs in the sky.
One of the videos, taken from US Navy aircraft, seems to show the pilots chasing a UFO off the east coast of the United States.
Navy pilots reported spotting the objects flying around 30,000 feet in the air at hypersonic speeds and showing no visible engines or exhaust plumes typical of any known aircraft currently on Earth.
The new agency has been called, The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF).
Mitch McConnell’s House Vandalized Over $2,000 Checks
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had his home vandalized this week, after blocking the vote to increase stimulus payments to $2,000.
Messages like ‘WERES MY MONEY’ and ‘MITCH K1LLS THE POOR.’ were spray-painted on the building.
Police said that they don’t have any suspects.
On Saturday, McConnell released a statement to the Louisville Courier Journal which read: “Vandalism and the politics of fear have no place in our society. My wife and I have never been intimidated by this toxic playbook. We just hope our neighbors in Louisville aren’t too inconvenienced by this radical tantrum.”
In 2015, Time listed McConnell as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. McConnell is the longest-serving U.S. senator for Kentucky in history, and the longest-serving leader of U.S. Senate Republicans in history.
During the Trump administration, Senate Republicans, under McConnell’s leadership, broke records on the number of judicial nominees confirmed. Among those nominees were Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh who were recently confirmed to the Supreme Court.
McConnell’s critics have called him by a variety of different nicknames, including “Moscow Mitch”, “Cocaine Mitch”, the “Grim Reaper”, “Darth Vader”, “Rich Mitch”, “Nuclear Mitch”, and “Midnight Mitch.” On some occasions, he has even embraced these nicknames, although he was apparently unhappy with the more recent “Moscow Mitch.”
McConnell has a net worth of $35 million dollars, and many Americans feel that he is out of touch. He isn’t the only US politician that was a target for vandalism this week.
According to a report from TMZ this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had her house vandalized with a pig’s head and fake blood.
Spray painted in black on the white garage door were the messages “$2K,” an apparent reference to the $2,000 COVID stimulus checks that have been held up in the U.S. Senate, as well as “CANCEL RENT!” and “WE WANT EVERYTHING!”
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