At midnight, the Patriot Act expires. Given that the Patriot Act should never have passed in the first place, that’s a good thing.
In a Time magazine op-ed, senator Rand Paul proclaimed I Will Stop the Illegal NSA Spying.
Sunday, I will continue my fight to end the illegal collection of American phone records. The Second Appeals court has ruled the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records illegal. We should not be debating modifying an illegal program. We should simply end this illegal program.
We have all the tools we need to preserve both security and liberty. What we now need is a president with the will to do just that.
I would take the billions spent on collecting records of suspicionless Americans and spend it instead on FBI agents to monitor suspects who have given probable cause that they are a danger to us.
Individual warrants every day are used to arrest dangerous people. I see no reason we can’t defend ourselves using the same Constitutional processes we’ve used for over two centuries.
Our country was founded on the principle of individual—not general—warrants.
After the current illegal powers end Sunday night the government could still get a warrant. It will just have to say on it Mr. John Smith, not Mr. Verizon.
One suspect, one warrant. Not hundreds of millions of records swept up in one illegal order.
I would argue this will make us more safe, not less. It has been said that finding a terrorist is like finding a needle in a haystack. Well, for years, your government’s answer has been to make the haystack bigger by gobbling up every American’s information.
That must end.
This president could fix the problem by himself but he hasn’t done so. I stand ready to help lead the way on this important matter. On Sunday I will stop the illegal NSA spying.
Rand Paul Under Pressure
Of course, all the war-hawk constitutional hypocrites want the bill extended as does president Obama. Thus, Rand Paul is Under Pressure as Deadline Clock Ticks.
Rand Paul came under mounting pressure to prevent a full lapse in US surveillance authorities on Sunday, as allies of the Kentucky senator joined hawks at the opposite end of the political spectrum in calling for the swift passage of the compromise USA Freedom Act.
The USA Freedom Act would ban the government collection of bulk phone records first revealed in the Guardian by Edward Snowden, forcing the National Security Agency (NSA) to make specific requests from telecom providers instead. It is supported by the Obama administration.
On Sunday morning, the Utah Republican senator Mike Lee, a sponsor of the USA Freedom Act and close ally of Paul, distanced himself from his colleague’s tactics.
“I do believe we have the votes,” said Lee. “So at this point the question is not really whether we get this passed but when it will happen: tonight or Wednesday, or sometime between then.”
Despite the ability of Senate leaders to eventually force through a vote against his wishes, Senator Paul was in defiant mood, reveling in his lonely stand against both parties and ability to force a temporary lapse in the Patriot Act provisions.
“On Sunday I will stop the illegal NSA spying,” he wrote in an opinion piece for Time magazine.
“We should not be debating modifying an illegal programme. We should simply end this illegal programme,” he added.
In comments to supporters in South Carolina and a statement issued to Politico, Paul hinted that he would not give majority leader McConnell the unanimous consent needed to move to a final vote on USA Freedom Act when the Senate resumes for an unusual Sunday session at 4pm.
“It’s not a violation of civl liberties,” insisted presidential hopeful Jeb Bush in an interview with CBS, in which he warned the nation’s security would be endangered if the bulk collection programme was allowed to expire.
“There is no evidence, not a shred of evidence that the metadata programme has violated anybody’s civil liberties,” Bush claimed.
Jeb Bush Unable to Reason
Apparently Jeb Bush can neither read nor think because on May 7, 2015, a Top Federal Court Ruled Against NSA’s Phone Records Program.
A federal court has decided that the National Security Agency’s bulk, warrantless collection of millions of Americans’ phone records is illegal.
The sweeping decision from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday represents a major court victory for opponents of the NSA and comes just as Congress begins a fight over whether to renew the underlying law used to justify the program.
That program “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized,” Judge Gerard Lynch wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel.
The law “cannot be interpreted in a way that defies any meaningful limit,” he added.
Additionally, the government’s rationale behind the program represents “a monumental shift in our approach to combating terrorism,” which was not grounded in a clear explanation of the law.
The Second Circuit’s decision provides the most significant legal blow to the NSA operations to date and comes more than a year after a lower court called the program “almost-Orwellian” and likely unconstitutional. The appeals court did not examine the constitutionality of the surveillance program in its ruling on Thursday.
No Shred of Evidence
Let’s modify Jeb Bush’s statement so that it actually makes sense: “There is no evidence, not a shred of evidence that the metadata programme has stopped any terrorist acts. Bulk data gathering is not only a colossal waste of money, it violates the constitution.”
Nonetheless, I suspect Lee is correct when he says “I do believe we have the votes“.
Republicans pitifully align themselves with Obama in support of a preposterously named USA Freedom Act, a bill 100% guaranteed to curtail freedom.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock