Author of Patriot Act says Obama must stop abusing it

June 20, 2013, 6:05 pm


The man who wrote the Patriot Act, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), recently published an article in The Guardian entitled “This abuse of the Patriot Act must end,” concluding “President Obama falsely claims Congress authorised all NSA surveillance. In fact, our law was designed to protect liberties.” He’s right. Investor’s Business Daily pointed out that the massive (and ludicrous) NSA surveillance operation under Obama didn’t detect the Boston bombers and:

… the Patriot Act’s author says this isn’t the targeted surveillance intended and warns of losing needles in a too-big haystack. …

But we want to preserve the records of every housewife in Des Moines because data mining that arguably invades the privacy rights of innocent Americans might reveal something. …

Here’s Sensenbrenner in his own words:

We’ve gotten used to what “Big Government” looks like — Washington’s unchecked deficit spending, the Obama administration’s policing of the press and the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups. But the problem is bigger than we thought. “Big Brother” is watching. And he is monitoring the phone calls and digital communications of every American, as well as of any foreigners who make or receive calls to or from the United States.

Last week, the Guardian reported that the Obama administration is collecting records of every call made to, from or within the US, as well as records of many digital communications. President Obama has tried to deflect criticism by claiming “every member of Congress has been briefed on this program.” While some members of Congress were briefed — particularly those on the intelligence committees — most, including myself, were not.

The administration claims authority to sift through details of our private lives because the Patriot Act says that it can. I disagree. I authored the Patriot Act, and this is an abuse of that law.

I was the chairman of the House judiciary committee when the US was attacked on 11 September 2001. Five days later, the Justice Department delivered its proposal for new legislation. Although I, along with every other American, knew we had to strengthen our ability to combat those targeting our country, this version went too far. I believed then and now that we can defend our country and our liberty at the same time. …

Think we should wake up and listen?

Related: Constitution, Dictator Watch, Free Speech, National Security / Intelligence, Obama

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