Massie: Clock ticking to scale back spy powers

Congress faces a critical deadline, and time is running out. On June 1, 2015, three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act will expire. The actions of the U.S. Congress between today and June 1st will affect the privacy and liberty of millions of innocent Americans.

The 2001 USA PATRIOT Act was drafted and swiftly passed in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Due to the nature of the crisis, the goal was simply to pass a bill as quickly as possible. Many congressmen did not have an opportunity to thoroughly read, analyze or vet the bill’s numerous and lengthy provisions. In fact, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, one of the original authors of the Patriot Act, later declared that he was shocked by how the law was used to spy on innocent Americans.

Congress and the American people now know, thanks to whistleblower leaks, that federal agencies like the National Security Agency regularly perform mass surveillance on Americans without bothering to obtain a warrant. As constitutional law scholar Randy Barnett wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “The National Security Agency has seized from private companies voluminous data on the phone and Internet usage of all U.S. citizens. … This dangerously violates the most fundamental principles of our republican form of government.” He concludes that “[s]uch indiscriminate data seizures are the epitome of ‘unreasonable,’ akin to the ‘general warrants’ issued by the Crown to authorize searches of Colonial Americans.”

FK – Too many ‘conservatives’ have no problem with the police state if it’s enforcing their version, sub-version or subversion. We are still a very primitive species, existing in a very dark age.

All who voted for that law without reading it should be tried and put to crushing large rocks with a sledge hammer in a northern state.

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