GOP should lead fight against the Patriot Act
And to think they told us the War on Terror was over.
With newsthat the National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of us through one of America’s largest telecoms providers, Republicans have a chance to dramatically recast themselves in the debate over state surveillance and privacy.
An orderrequires Verizon on an “ongoing, daily basis” to hand over information on all telephone calls in its systems to the NSA — both domestically and between the United States and other nations. A White House official has already defended the actions: “On its face, the order reprinted in the article does not allow the government to listen in on anyone’s telephone calls. The information acquired does not include the content of any communications or the name of any subscriber. It relates exclusively to metadata, such as a telephone number or the length of a call.”
Though Americans are usually evenly split over the Patriot Act, I suspect that the brazenness and widespread nature of this particular brand of snooping probably won’t go over well. It’s important to remember that during the Bush years the NSA had, as this USA Today storycharacterizes it, a “massive database of Americans’ phone calls,” so this isn’t exactly new territory. The GOP will undoubtedly be branded a bunch of hypocrites (and in some instances it will be well deserved). What is new in Washington, however, is a gaggle of libertarian-minded GOP politicians that weren’t part of the 99-1 affirmative vote on the Patriot Act and they weren’t here for a decade defending the expansion of FISA courts.
From the Patriot Act to N.D.A.A. provisions, to executive orders to C.I.S.P.A. and now this! Where does the infringement on civil liberties and the Fourth Amendment stop? Yes, the G.O.P. should lead this fight, but with the likes of McCain, Graham, and more Republicans leaning toward cyber intelligence to “keep us safe” I doubt it will happen.**