NSA (Supposedly) Winding Down Illegal Phone Taps and Unconstitutional Searches1
May 24, 2015 by JImbo
NSA Winding Down Once-Secret Program
This has gotten very little to NO press coverage except online. There is quite a bit of talk about it among many of my friends and on social media, but the cable and TV stations have been essentially silent on it.
What do you need to know?
Well, the Patriot Act (especially Section 215 and it’s phone tapping/message collecting) is expiring May 31st unless they can renew it. That gives the big-government politicians a week to save their beloved (illegal) program.
Yes, illegal. And Unconstitutional. Judges have ruled repeatedly that this program violates civil liberties and is not allowable under the Constitution. Not to get too into the weeds on this, but it’s simple.
Police are allowed to search your things if they suspect you of a crime and have a warrant with your name on it and what they are looking for. (A gun used in a murder, drugs you are supposedly selling, etc.)
They cannot just walk into your house and start grabbing things. They cannot make a warrant that says “Every American” at the top. They can’t make it say “Anything cool we might find in there.” It has to be specific to the crime and investigation.
However, this is EXACTLY what the Patriot Act (and that Section 215 in particular) means. It is variably called a “warrantless wiretap” or a “class action document.” Either way, it means they can hold onto everyone’s message on everything forever… just in case.
The big-government types who created the “Homeland Security” fiasco after 9-11 are up in arms about losing this “valuable tool.” Yes personal privacy sure sucks doesn’t it? Makes it so difficult to be “efficient” huh?
Anyway, that’s the background. Currently the privacy rights supporters tried offering a compromise that was 90% of the Patriot Act…without this illegal wiretapping. It’s called the “USA Freedom Act.” It has everything basically but the illegal stuff.
If the Federal Judges want to be total dicks about it they can issue an injunction and stop an ENTIRE bill if just ONE PART is illegal. So, the whole Patriot Act (which holds a lot more stuff than just this one NSA program) could be tossed out since judges hold the illegal phone/email searches to be illegal.
Rather than give in on their illegal NSA snooping program, the big-government politicians (led by the RINOs like Mitch McConnell) had a tantrum and shot the new bill down…repeatedly. It was either the whole (illegal) Patriot Act or nothing.
And so they got… nothing. They couldn’t get 60 votes for the old (illegal) bill. Yes Rand Paul’s filibustering speech was an important contribution. However, it didn’t do the impossible.
All “filibustering” does is make you have to get MORE votes to overrule the filibustering party. So instead of 50 votes you need 60 votes to move on. Rand Paul lifted the bar to 60 votes, but if they HAD 60 Senators who liked the Patriot Act then it would have passed.
Now the big-government cronyists are going to whine and pout and claim that the nation will be instantly be incinerated by a nuclear-armed ISIS if this doesn’t pass!
I do wonder what happens if NEITHER bill makes it in the Senate. Are the cronyists in both parties willing to throw out the other 90% of the Patriot Act (the parts about reorganizing government agencies and such) too? Just because they didn’t get to keep their unconstitutional and invasive NSA program?
Did I mention it was an illegal program yet?
It will be interesting. Who will blink first? The “90%ers”? The “All or Nothings?” What if neither do and the whole thing is scrapped?
That would actually be the BEST option. There’s a helluva lot of extra crap in there that isn’t needed and was rushed through on the “OHMIGOD WE JUST HAD 9-11!” hysteria. A rational debate on each provision in a separate bill would be a great idea.
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I believe they will continue to do it. What are the consequences? Nothing that I know of.