Post Tagged with: "Patriot Act"

Appeals Court: NSA Surveillance Program Illegal

May 8, 2015 6:00 AM
Appeals Court: NSA Surveillance Program Illegal

By Paul Gable

The US 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled this week the bulk collection of telephone data by the NSA (National Security Agency) is unlawful.

This decision not only overturned an earlier decision by a US District Court, but also demonstrates how out of touch the Obama White House is with what is legal in surveillance programs as is Sen. Lindsey Graham.

The ruling gives credence to a 2014 independent report from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that called the collection program illegal and said it should be ended.

The report said the bulk telephone records program lacked a viable legal foundation with “serious threats to privacy and civil liberties” with only “limited value.” The report also called for NSA to purge its files of these records.

The appeals court said the NSA collection exceeded the provisions of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which is up for reauthorization before it runs out at the end of this month.

However, the court did not rule an end to the NSA domestic collection program, preferring instead to allow Congress an opportunity to make changes in the program.

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is pushing to reauthorize Section 215.

But, the court, in its decision, concluded, ““We hold that the text of section 215 cannot bear the weight the government asks us to assign to it, and that it does not authorize the telephone metadata program. We conclude that to allow the government to collect phone records only because they may become relevant to a possible authorized investigation in the future fails even the permissive ‘relevance’ test.”

If Congress reauthorizes the Patriot Act provisions, we could see harsher court rulings result.

Frankly, it’s time someone reigned in Congress and its stomping all over the civil rights of American citizens. This ruling, at least, allows us to conclude that the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution is not dead.

“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” Benjamin Franklin

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Ron Paul On Warrantless Surveillance

May 5, 2015 8:00 AM
Ron Paul On Warrantless Surveillance

A recent column by former Congressman Ron Paul called for an end to warrantless mass surveillance and a return of the 4th Amendment to American life.

As Paul pointed out, there is no terrorist exception in the 4th Amendment. Either probable cause exists to surveil someone, in which case warrantless surveillance wouldn’t be needed, or it does not.

We couldn’t agree more. Terrorism is no excuse to suspend the Constitution just as the alleged, but basically fictional, “Red Menace” was no excuse 100 years ago.

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Pondering 9/11 and the Future

September 11, 2012 8:50 AM
Pondering 9/11 and the Future

The eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is a time to look back and remember that awful day in 2001 when Arab terrorists attacked our homeland. However, it is also a time to look back on significant changes in America over the last 11 years and ponder whether the country needs to reevaluate itself.

During those 11 years, our national debt has increased from approximately $4 trillion when George W. Bush took office to approximately $15 trillion today. It took 191 years (1789 – 1980) for the U.S. to amass a national debt of approximately $1 trillion. Now we do that every year and neither of our two major political parties has demonstrated an ability to change that trend.

Our politics are probably more polarized than at any time in our history since the 1860’s. Our politicians exhibit all the characteristics of a bunch of empty suits crowding around one or the other of two extreme poles with a yawning chasm between them.

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