Patriot Act Revisitation

Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.

Several provisions in the Patriot Act will be coming up for re-authorization this week. Now, I believe the Patriot Act was a big scam, and was pushed across on the American people to cover up for the fact that the Bush Administration was completely incompetent in the runup to 9-11. No rights needed to be stolen for them to be presented with a memo entitled "Bin-Laden Determined to Strike in the United States" a full month before that attack. Unfortunately our President at the time felt it was more important to stay on vacation.

Instead of admitting their incompetence and apolegizing to the American people they sought to take generations of Constitutional protections from Americans with the Patriot Act and the FISA Bill. Now, with some provisions of the Patriot Act coming up for renewal, hopefully we can start to roll back this useless, unneccesary law that served it's purpose in deflecting critisizm from the incompetence of the Bush/Cheney Administration.

Several Senators have filed a bill to impose new safeguards in the law:

Laying down a marker ahead of those hearings, a group of senators who support greater privacy protections filed a bill on Thursday that would impose new safeguards on the Patriot Act while tightening restrictions on other surveillance policies. The measure is co-sponsored by nine Democrats and an independent.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/us/pol itics/20patriot.html?_r=1&ref=politi cs

Although the Obama Administration asked for renewal of the provisions they seemed to admit that changes indeed need to be made:

Days before, the Obama administration called on Congress to reauthorize the three expiring Patriot Act provisions in a letter from Ronald Weich, assistant attorney general for legislative affairs. At the same time, he expressed a cautious open mind about imposing new surveillance restrictions as part of the legislative package.

"We are aware that members of Congress may propose modifications to provide additional protection for the privacy of law abiding Americans," Mr. Weich wrote, adding that "the administration is willing to consider such ideas, provided that they do not undermine the effectiveness of these important authorities."

One witness is lined up to testify about the dangerous precedents set up by the Patriot Act:

One of the witnesses Democrats have invited to testify at both hearings is Suzanne E. Spaulding, who has worked for lawmakers of both parties as a former top staffer on the House and Senate Intelligence committees. Mrs. Spaulding said she would urge Congress to tighten restrictions on when the F.B.I. could use the Patriot Act powers.

The rapid build-up of domestic intelligence authorities after the Sept. 11 attacks, she said, had overlooked "important safeguards," which has resulted "in a greater likelihood at a minimum of the government mistakenly intruding into the privacy of innocent Americans, and at worst having a greater capability of abusing these authorities."

A bill filed by Dick Durbin and Russ Feingold, the lone Senator to vote against the original Patriot Act would also seek to repeal the immunity of telecommunications companies that gave information to the Bush Administration without warrants from civil lawsuits. It would also ban the practice of "bulk collection" of phone calls that come into the United States from overseas.

Feingold offered this explanation of the bill he and Durbin filed:

"Every single member of Congress wants to give our law enforcement and intelligence officials the tools they need to keep Americans safe," Mr. Feingold said in a statement when filing the bill. "But with the Patriot Act up for reauthorization, we should take this opportunity to fix the flaws in our surveillance laws once and for all."

Of course, we all know that just the mention of revising this bill will cause Republicans to blow a gasket. They simply refuse to admit despite the lessons of history that this bill was simply not needed, and steals away generations of Constitutional protections while giving the government broad new powers. I thought they were against "big government"!!

I wish we could repeal all of the Patriot Act but seriously doubt that Democrats will have the guts. The plain and simple fact of the matter is our intelligence apparatus worked just fine the way it was before 9-11, incompetent leadership just ignored the warnings. The Patriot Act was part of a propoganda campaign that sought to excuse that incompetence and paint anyone that even questioned the motives and policies of the "War on Terror" as cowards, unpatriotic, or even traitors effectively silencing them. Why do you think a bill that stole away Constitutional protections was dubbed the "Patriot Act"??

It is time that we moved past the massive failures of the Bush Administration and the "War on Terror" and saw these tactics for what they were. An administration desperate to cover up and excuse it's own incompetence in any way possible. Looking at it through this context it is time we scrapped the whole Patriot Act and the FISA Bill.

It is truly the "Patriotic" thing to do.

Tags: bush administration, constitution, Dick Durbin, FISA bill, Patriot Act, propoganda, Russ Feingold, war on terror, warrant protections (all tags)

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