Sen. Rand Paul went astray. His rousing remarks against the renewal of the PATRIOT Act were softened by a call for “the hiring of a 1,000 more FBI agents.” “We need more FBI analysts analyzing data,” said Paul.
Moreover, and as reported at Target Liberty, it is the legal opinion of Judge Andrew Napolitano “that the US government is lying to the American people with the claim that the mass surveillance would be suspended upon the expiration of the PATRIOT Act provision used to justify the mass surveillance program.”
Essentially, the Patriot Act will be revamped, only to reemerge as the USA FREEDOM Act.
Napolitano states:There are two other provisions in the law that the NSA relies on which will cause it to continue to spy on Americans even if section 215 of the PATRIOT Act does expire. One of those is a section of the FISA law called section 702, and one of them is a still-existing executive order signed by President George W. Bush in the fall or 2001, which has not been tinkered with, interfered with, or rescinded.
By Robert Wenzel’s telling, the “best analysis of the Patriot Act renewal and the USA Freedom Act” comes courtesy of “Glenn Greenwald in discussion with Jameel Jaffer, the Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU,” at The Intercept.
The question of whether “the sunset of Section 215 will be a meaningful step towards reform” is especially informative:
GREENWALD: That’s what I was going to ask next, actually.
JAFFER: That’s a good question. The problem –
GREENWALD: Let me just interject there: the argument that people make, and I’m sympathetic to it, which isn’t the same thing as saying I agree with it, is how significant would it really be?
The NSA has all of these other authorities. They can cite executive orders and other things, on top of which they’ve done a really good job of co-opting laws in the past. We had this FISA law that said you can’t eavesdrop on Americans’ communications without a warrant, and they did it anyway.
They invented this incredibly radical interpretation of the Patriot Act – of 215 – that says “This lets us collect everything we want,” and that was the interpretation the Second Circuit, ten years later, rejected, finally, just a couple of weeks ago.
So given how adept they are at kind of co-opting the process to do what they want – the other authorities – and their propensity to circumvent the law or even break it to do what they want, how significant would it really be?