Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) have introduced a bill to repeal the Patriot Act.
Julie Borowski at Freedom Works reported yesterday that a bill is now before the House to actually repeal the Patriot Act. About time!
I can say without hesitation: this bill is the real deal.
“The Patriot Act contains many provisions that violate the Fourth Amendment and have led to a dramatic expansion of our domestic surveillance state,” said Rep. Massie. “Our Founding Fathers fought and died to stop the kind of warrantless spying and searches that the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act authorize. It is long past time to repeal the Patriot Act and reassert the constitutional rights of all Americans. I am proud to co-sponsor Congressman Pocan’s bill and look forward to working with him on this issue.”
Congress has introduced a handful of NSA reform bills over the past few years. Due to public disapproval of NSA spying, there is significant political pressure to “do something” about it. Most of these reform bills, however, would do practically nothing to rein in warrantless spying. Civil liberties experts say that most of these bills contain loopholes that would allow the invasive practices to continue.
That’s why it’s so refreshing to see a bill like the Surveillance State Repeal Act.
She lists nine things that the Act would mandate. It does allow some things such as not requiring a new warrant if a suspect switches devices. It also protects the role of intelligence gathering on foreign suspects. But it completely abolishes the Patriot Act, which is the legal basis on which the NSA gives itself the authority to spy on us. It also abolishes the FISA Amendments that claim to allow the government to spy on our emails without a warrant. And it prohibits the Federal Government from mandating that manufacturers install spyware on electronic devices.
This Bill even includes official channels for whistleblowers to use when they see people in government violating the law. It also empowers the Inspector General to monitor compliance with the law.
Why is this a big deal? Obviously, it would be a major deal if it actually passed. And it should pass!
But even apart from that, the controversy over this Bill should force every aspiring Republican Presidential candidate to choose a side. Jeb Bush will have to answer for his refusal to defend the Constitution.
Of course, if it passes Congress, then I have no doubt that Obama will veto it. But that will once again expose the Democrats for what they are. It will also put even more pressure in Republican candidates. American conservatives are not going to elect a man whose contempt for the Constitution matches the attitude of Barack Obama.