Friday, October 9, 2009

US Senate committee votes to renew Patriot Act

... in its entirety, according to Wired. The renewed Patriot Act will include three controversial provisions that enable the Feds to issue broad warrants to retrieve any kind of records* without the government having to declare that the information sought is connected to a terrorism or espionage investigation; the "roving wiretap" provision that allows wiretapping without identifying the target or what method of communication is to be tapped; and the "lone wolf" provision to allow court warrants for the electronic monitoring of a person for whatever reason — even without showing that the suspect is an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist. The government has said it has never invoked that provision, but said it wanted to retain the authority to do so.

Of course, the justification for these measures is classified. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said he wished “the American public could have seen” the classified briefing. Uh huh. Believe that, and I'll sell you some tropical beach front in Sen. Leahy's home state.

Critics of the bill to renew these provisions, notably Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin), argued that these allow the federal government to pursue "fishing expeditions".

The bipartisan support for extending these controls should satisfy anyone that George Wallace was correct when he said that there isn't a dime's worth of difference between the two major parties. Your choice is between a party that spends your tax dollars for benefits it can't afford, while robbing you of your liberties; and a party that spends your tax dollars for benefits the recipients don't need, while robbing you of your liberties.

And people wonder why I support secession...!

Virtual buckeye to Rebellion.

* Including library cards, except that library records can only be retrieved if the Feds can justify it on the basis of a probable link to terrorism. Even that provision was criticized by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), who worried that the change might “encourage terrorists they have a safe haven” in America’s public libraries.

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