Late last week, I published a post about Patriot Act reauthorization that turned out to be extremely popular. It was titled, Congress is Attempting to Reauthorize Key Patriot Act Provisions by Sneaking it Into “USA Freedom Act.” Here’s an excerpt:
June 1, 2015 is a very important day for American civil liberties and the Constitution. On that day, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, one of the most egregious pieces of legislation passed in U.S. history, will expire automatically without reauthorization from Congress. Naturally, this is causing a panic attack within the heart of the NSA, FBI and all the authoritarian lackey legislators in Washington D.C. With the chances of a clean reauthorization next to none, these crafty “representatives” and their puppeteers need to figure out a way to sneak it into another piece of legislation. What better way to do this than making it a part of something that ostensibly appears to be reining in surveillance powers. Enter the USA Freedom Act.
As mentioned, it is widely believed that there isn’t enough support for straight reauthorization unaccompanied by some sort of NSA reform, but that won’t stop GOP establishment queen Mitch McConnell from trying.
McConnell is amongst the most freedom hating, constitution trampling Republican members in the Senate, sharing this distinction with John McCain and Lindsey Graham. What makes McConnell far more dangerous is his position as Senate Majority Leader. Today, the Washington Post informed us how he’s wielding such power:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced a bill Tuesday night to extend through 2020 a controversial surveillance authority under the Patriot Act.
The move comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers in both chambers is preparing legislation to scale back the government’s spying powers under Section 215 of the Patriot Act.It puts McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the bill’s co-sponsor, squarely on the side of advocates of the National Security Agency’s continued ability to collect millions of Americans’ phone records each day in the hunt for clues of terrorist activity.
You gotta love how the Washington Post just accepts the government talking point that the surveillance is to catch terrorists, despite the fact that Section 215 hasn’t stopped any attacks.
In filing the bill, McConnell and Burr invoked a Senate rule that enabled them to bypass the traditional committee vetting process and take the bill straight to the floor. No date has been set for such consideration.