Friday, May 1, 2015

Ron Paul Rewind: Oppose PATRIOT Act Renewal, Respect the Fourth Amendment

-Adam Dick
On February 8, 2011, then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) spoke against renewing what he termed “the three worst parts” of the USA PATRIOT Act during a US House of Representatives debate over legislation that would do just that. The provisions, without congressional action, were set to sunset — cease being United States law. Paul’s side lost that evening. But, liberty-restricting provisions of the PATRIOT Act, including section 215, are set to automatically sunset on June 1 unless the Congress again passes legislation to extend them. If the so-called “do-nothing Congress” would just live up to that label in regard to this matter, advocates for liberty would have something to cheer about come June.

But, powerful forces are arrayed in support of Congress renewing the PATRIOT Act provisions before they expire. In the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is fast-tracking legislation to extend the soon to expire provisions another five years. In the House of Representatives, a newly-tweaked USA FREEDOM Act, which last year earned infamy for its support for government violation of freedom and the slimy process by which it advanced through the legislative process, may be pursued as an avenue to extend the about to expire PATRIOT Act provisions. Reauthorizing the provisions would facilitate the National Security Agency (NSA) and other US government agencies continuing to operate mass surveillance.

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