Republicans, Dems Furious that Illegal Spy Program Paused

Rand Paul is learning that hell hath no fury like Republican politicians scorned in their attempt to continue an illegal spy program.

The author of the Patriot Act says that the NSA was running an illegal spy program that was never authorized by the legislation. Right now the courts have agreed with him and told the NSA that their bulk data collection is an illegal spy program. That was a significant failure because they should have ruled it was unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment, but they did tell a Federal Agency they didn’t have the right to make up their own rules without Congressional authorization.

And now one man had the decency to let the law that was created with an expiration date to actually expire… and Republican Senators and Representatives are having a meltdown.

Here’s the headline from AFP: “US lawmakers pile on as Rand Paul forces counterterror lapse.”

Forcing the national security provisions to expire “means that some of the Section 215 tools can’t be used for new investigations,” a frustrated Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr told AFP.

“NSA employees that typically query the data base won’t be able to query it — all compliments of Rand Paul.”

“I’ve listened to Rand Paul… object to everything,” Burr added.

– Political grandstanding? –

Similar sentiments echoed around the US Capitol, where lawmakers recall how Paul essentially helped throw the Senate into chaos after midnight on May 23.

With Congress poised to head out for a one-week break, Paul blocked short-term extensions of the national security provisions, forcing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call for a rare Sunday session to try and reach a solution hours before the tools expired.

It didn’t work, and McConnell, who has essentially endorsed Paul for president, was left red-faced by his fellow Kentuckian.

Many lawmakers who attacked Paul suggested he was grandstanding for political purposes, energizing his presidential campaign at the expense of national security.

“It’s so irresponsible for one senator to prevent action to extend and reform three key counterterrorism tools for his own political gain,” warned senior Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.

“Holding critical national security programs hostage to raise political donations is outrageous, but that’s where we stand today.”

Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee who has frequently clashed with Paul, also addressed Paul’s larger political aspirations.

“I think he obviously has a higher priority for his fundraising and political ambitions than for the security of the nation,” McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said according to CNN.

Grandstanding for the Constitution is something John McCain can’t understand. If these actions are really the result of political ambitions, then McCain is admitting that a vast number of voters agree with Paul and will be inclined to vote for him because of his current actions.

The Democrat posturing is also ludicrous. They got a two-term presidency out of a man because, back in 2007 and 2008, he pretended to oppose the Patriot Act. Did they really think that all that frustrated desire for an end to the spy state would just convert because of Obamacare and Stimulus? The Democrats are now opposing the same national feeling that swept them into office back in 2006 and then gave them the White House in 2008.

And they are pretending it is something new and evil.

If the Patriot Act was so great and necessary, why did Congress constantly make it a temporary law with an expiration date? Why did they never pass it as a permanent law so that they never risked it expiring?

Of course, they will be passing the law soon, and probably with an outright authorization of the NSA’s illegal spy program in order to make the court case go away.

This reminds me of the 2008 TARP scandal where Congress waivered before the will of the voters and refused to pass the “law” (i.e. mass plunder of the poor for the sake of the rich). And then, within days, were confronted with the law again and passed it. The media went along with it as if it was self-evident that the first vote was some kind of evil loss of nerve and the second vote spitting in the face of the American people before chaining them to more debt was an act of moral heroism.

We know that the majority of the people hate the NSA’s illegal spy program, but the media is going to treat it as self evident that Congress must authorize it anyway.