UPDATE: I spent 20 minutes discussing this issue, including the upcoming Holt bill, on The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen, broadcast live on WNHN in New Hampshire and also available via podcast. I’ll post a link to the conversation as soon as it’s available, likely later today. Stay tuned.
(Audio here. This is an MP3 file, so you need Quicktime or a media player to hear it. Listen from the beginning; I’m the first guest. And thanks!)
While the rest of the country was celebrating our independence, House Dem. Rush Holt (NJ-12) was doing something about it — drafting legislation to repeal both the Patriot Act of 2001 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.
If you click, be sure to check the legislative history. This was Obama’s first major betrayal of an important campaign promise, and he was just a candidate at the time — a foretaste of many betrayals to come.
Rush Holt, writing in the Asbury Park Press in his native New Jersey, says this (my emphasis and some paragraphing):
Once again, our nation is grappling with a false choice being presented to us by the media and intelligence officials: In order to be safe, we must be willing — in President Barack Obama’s words — to accept “modest encroachments” on our civil liberties. These claims are being advanced in the wake of the most sensational revelations about intrusive, and potentially illegal, government surveillance activities at home since the Watergate era. …
According to press reports, we are subject to the collection of phone call metadata from every American. The harvesting of To, From and Bcc data from the emails of Americans. The blanket targeting of encrypted emails or encrypted “cloud storage” data repositories of Americans. The targeting of anyone using Tor (an online anonymization capability). These are just the revelations made to date by the Guardian and The Washington Post, among others. …
Soon, I will introduce legislation that would repeal the laws that brought us our current “surveillance state”: the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act. My bill would restore the probable cause-based warrant requirement for any surveillance against an American citizen being proposed on the basis of an alleged threat to the nation. And it would, for the first time, provide genuine legal protections for the Thomas Drakes of the world.
See the rest of the article for the reference to Thomas Drake. It’s well worth a read.
At the moment I’m still absorbing this, wondering what the next steps are. Co-sponsors and a Senate companion bill seem like a good way to proceed. I know there’s a hunger in the country for this nonsense to end, and there seems some hunger in Congress as well. My instinct is to build this resistance to the National (actually International) Spook State as big as it can get.
Thanks, Mr. Holt, for getting the ball rolling. We’re with you all the way.
To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius