Following the 9/11 attacks, George W. Bush and Congress joined forces to launch a tyrannical assault against liberty in America in the name of safety.
Perhaps the crowning achievement of their effort was the overwhelmingly bipartisan support for and passage of the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act,” better known as the USA PATRIOT Act. This constitutionally questionable law is what gave the National Security Agency (NSA) sweeping authority to collect the records of every single American in addition to other metadata.
Years later, when details of NSA abuse were being made public, the “Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act” (USA FREEDOM Act) became law in 2015. This law was intended to bring an end to bulk collection of metadata by the NSA in addition to ending secret laws used by the “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” (FISA) courts that allowed the NSA to monitor anyone . . . anytime . . . anywhere.
One of the “fixes” provided by the FREEDOM Act addressed errors in Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. This section is where the NSA found its authority to gain access to “business records” and other “tangible things” deemed “relevant” to fighting terrorism. Using a broad interpretation of Section 215 is how the agency justified the abusive and unconstitutional spying revealed in 2013 by Edward Snowden.
Section 215 and other provisions of the PATRIOT Act are set to expire on December 15, 2019, and the unibrow is already working on ways to make sure it never dies.
Think Congress can’t get much done? Republicans and Democrats are working together right now to reauthorize Patriot Act provisions that expire in December. They’re not going to let impeachment stand in the way of some good old-fashioned unconstitutional surveillance of Americans.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) November 11, 2019
Before leaving his position as the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates sent a letter to top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on behalf of the white house, requesting that the NSA’s spying program not only be renewed but be made permanent.
Exclusive: The Trump administration has urged Congress to make permanent the expiring legal authority that empowers the National Security Agency to gain access to logs of Americans’ domestic communications. For now, it's set to expire in December. https://t.co/tRGGECS3gW
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 15, 2019
In response to the news that Trump had requested this permanent re-authorization, Rep. Justin Amash, reminded America about a bill he had proposed known as the “Ending Mass Collection of Americans’ Phone Records Act” (H.R. 1942) a measure intended to bring an end to government spying.
Last year, Pres. Trump signed FISA 702. This year, he wants to reauthorize the Patriot Act and Freedom Act. These unconstitutional domestic spying programs must end. Congress should pass my bill, #HR1942, to end mass collection of Americans’ phone records. https://t.co/lmF5Z9Amce https://t.co/WLUb8pKoGE
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) August 15, 2019
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an organization dedicated to “protecting freedom where law and technology collide,” has set up a TAKE ACTION page where you can easily send letters to your representatives with the click of a mouse to let them know that you don’t want to see the USA PATRIOT Act re-authorized.
To quote Justin Amash, “Getting rid of this program will vindicate Americans’ rights and begin making the broader PATRIOT Act reforms that are going to be necessary to address the laws’ serious flaws.”
Let’s do it! We need to TAKE ACTION while we still can.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative.
His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.