Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act which allows the NSA to unconstitutionally snoop on the telephone calls of all Americans is set to expire on June 1.
On May 7 the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that NSA mega-surveillance “exceeds the scope of what Congress has authorized,” Judge Gerard Lynch wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel.
“If the government is correct, it could use § 215 to collect and store in bulk any other existing metadata available anywhere in the private sector, including metadata associated with financial records, medical records, and electronic communications (including e‐mail and social media information) relating to all Americans,” Lynch added.
“Such expansive development of government repositories of formerly private records would be an unprecedented contraction of the privacy expectations of all Americans.”
A lower court had previously characterized § 215 as “almost-Orwellian” and a violation of the Constitution.
ISIS to the Rescue
As the law faces legal challenges, ISIS has has responded by stepping up its threats.
A tweet purportedly posted by ISIS claims the terror group will carry out a cyber attack on Monday. The tweet, dubbed “Message to America” and posted in Arabic, says ISIS hackers will do something “surprising” that “will frighten America.”
Meanwhile, the group has supposedly issued threats in London. “The tweets are extremely concerning given that last week’s attack on a Muhammad art exhibition in Garland, Texas was preceded by series of tweets sent out under the hashtag #TexasAttack,” writes Paul Joseph Watson today.
Prior to the dubious threats issued on Twitter, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Sunday the United States is facing a new era in which a lone wolf terrorist could “strike at any moment.”
“We’re very definitely in a new environment, because of ISIL’s effective use of social media, the Internet, which has the ability to reach into the homeland and possibly inspire others,” Johnson told ABC News.
As Ronald Bailey notes today, “the threat of terrorism by homegrown jihadis is minimal. As Mother Jones pointed out in 2013, there have been only 17 people killed by Islamic terrorists in the U.S. since the September 11, 2001 atrocities” and the terrorism, “even on the scale of 9/11, does not pose an existential threat to our country. However, the growth of turnkey totalitarianism does.”
“Given the impending Section 215 expiration date, is it just a coincidence that national security state functionaries are ramping up terrorism warnings? I don’t think so.”
Additionally, considering the history of ISIS and its connections to the US military and the reactionary monarchies in the Gulf, it is not a coincidence the terror group is ramping up its threat, no matter how fallacious.
Over the next few weeks, as Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act nears its expiration, we can expect more absurd ISIS tweets and the typical knee-jerk reaction from the propaganda media.