By Frank Schier
Editor & Publisher
The wise outcome of last week’s U.S. Senate debate was not extending the dangerous 4th amendment violations in the USA Patriot Act. Those expired Sunday. But this Tuesday, they passed a retread that will still run our 4th Amendment rights over.
When the USA Patriot Act was being debated in the U.S. Senate last week, Rand Paul, Republican Sentor from Kentucky and presidential candidate, declared with brilliant simplicity the solution to core violation of the USA Patriot Act, “Get a warrant!”
Warrants stand a part of the rule of the law; without warrants, the law cannot stand.
The successful retread of the very civil rights violations that failed and expired, was another insultingly titled bill, the USA Freedom Act. When are congressional staffers or NSA flunkies who write these bills going to stop pitching us the chocolate-coated crap? One insult deserves another. USA Freedom Act? HA!
The Act attacks our freedoms. As under the Patriot Act, Under this Freedom Act if you are labeled a “lone wolf” the government does not need a warrant to wiretap you. Under this Freedom Act if the government wants to have a “roving wiretap” on all of your family’s phones, without individual warrants, you are on the Orwellian party line.
Big Brother, get a warrant. The unwillingness to attain warrants displays just plain laziness, arrogance and hubris by those who believe they are omnipotent discernment masters. The ultimate control freaks. Get a warrant. That’s why we have checks and balances in our Constitution; that’s why we have the courts to look at the executive branch and congress and visa versa.
The only good this about this bill that brings back very provisions rejected in the Patriot Act (lone wolf and roving wiretap) is an amendment that provides for a supposed expert panel on civil rights to supposedly advise the FISA Court (The creation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). So when some already paranoid government wonk, or someone with some truly malicious to your family because of your political views, this new panel will act as your pals.
I’d believe that if this advisory panel was comprised of members of the ACLU, League of Women Voters, Southern Poverty Law Center, the Nazi Party, Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, for fair and balanced consideration of the government propaganda that might be put before it – Dr. Oz could be the tiebreaker.
That was a bad joke. Yes. The USA Freedom Act is the same bad joke as the USA Patriot Act, and the joke, as usual, is on us. The government has failed to come out with one strong case where the lone wolf and roving wiretaps or the mass data collection brought down a terrorist. Fear is its primary promoter in a never-ending War on Terror.
Other Senate amendments to the new Act provide for the phone companies be the holders of mass data collection, and they must provide six months notification on any changes in how they do that. The Director of National Intelligence must approve the collection system. Who will pay the phone companies for this new requirement? How much will it cost? Then there’s that little question of access, and it’s privacy methodology.
Since when did for-profit companies become part of law enforcement and foreign intelligence operations? Oh, that was a naive question. Pay to play, baby, pay to play.
As Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democratic senator said in a recent honest tirade, “… too many of the people in Washington, do not represent the folks who elected them.” Senators Warren and Paul deserve our thanks for honesty, common sense and their protection of our interests and rights. That’s what warrants encompass as well.
With the approval of the USA Freedom Act, which is anything but for your freedom, your U.S. Senate has just shown it doesn’t believe in common sense on one of the most basic principles in our Constitution, a warrant. As stated before, warrants stand a part of the rule of the law; without warrants, the law cannot stand. The final bill now goes back to the House of Representatives.