Author Of The Patriot Act: Congress Will Not Renew If Intelligence Agencies Don't Change Their Ways

from the time-to-fix-things dept

We've already pointed out that the key author of the Patriot Act, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, has spoken out against the NSA's surveillance activities, saying that the law was actually written specifically to prevent that kind of activity. Sensenbrenner, as the author of the Patriot Act, certainly isn't known for having a particularly strong focus on protecting civil liberties. However, he does seem quite perturbed at what's being done with the law associated with his name, which he insists is being abused. During today's Congressional hearings, Sensenbrenner made it clear that Congress will not renew the controversial Section 215 if the NSA doesn't correct its broad surveillance efforts:
Section 215 expires at the end of 2015. Unless you realize you've got a problem, that is not going to be renewed. There are not the votes in the House of Representatives to renew Section 215, and then you're gonna lose the business records access.... You have to change how you operate Section 215, otherwise in two and a half years you're not going to have it any more.”
The full video of Sensenbrenner questioning Deputy Attorney General James Cole is worth watching:
Sensenbrenner clearly gets angry with Cole, as Cole tries to tap dance around the question, by pointing out that he's not at all happy with the idea that the intelligence community gets to determine what's "relevant" rather than the court. He notes that relevance was supposed to be a limitation not something that the intelligence community gets to decide for itself. As the revelations have shown, under Section 215, the feds get to scoop up everything, as approved by the court, and then the intelligence agencies get to determine what's "relevant" within that collection to take a closer look. Sensenbrenner is clearly outraged that it's not the court that determines relevance. Having the intelligence community get to decide for itself makes a mockery of the law.
Sensenbrenner: It appears to me that, according to this letter and the testimony of FBI Director Mueller, that "relevant" [is being interpreted as] an expansion of what could happen rather than a limitation... when relevant was not included in that statute. Doesn't that make a mockery of the legal standard, because you're trying to have it both ways?

Cole: I don't think we're trying to have it both ways...

Sensenbrenner: You sure are! Because you're saying have the court authorized to get the records of all the phone calls that are made to and from phones in the United States including people who have nothing to do with any kind of terrorist investigation. And then what you're saying is that "we'll decide" what to pick out of that mass of maybe a billion phone calls a day, rather than saying that 'this person is a target' why don't you get an authorization for only that person's telephone records?

Cole: Again, going to the analogy of the criminal context, we would never in a grand jury situation or a traditional criminal investigation even go to the court for the framework, or the setting of rules, or have sunsetting every 90 days of the authority, or...

Sensenbrenner: But, Mr. Cole, with all due respect, the letter that I got from the Department that you're the number two person in, says that you get the FISA Court order because there are "reasonable grounds to believe that the data is relevant to an authorized investigation to protect against international terrorism" as Section 215 requires. Even though most of the records in the dataset are not associated with terrorist activity. You gobble up all of those records and then you turn around and say well we'll pick out maybe 300 phone numbers out of the billions of records that you have every day and you store for five years there. All the rest of this stuff is sitting in a warehouse and we found out from the IRS who knows who wants to have any kind of legal or illegal access to it. You are having it both ways.
Once again, when will the administration realize that they've clearly taken all of this way too far?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Никто, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:49pm

    What makes you believe they ever will?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:55pm

    "So, like, if you guys don't shape up, you'll still get to keep abusing everything for another two years before we even actually decide if we're going to take away your toys or not. So, yeah, we're totally serious. You really should stop doing that!"

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:55pm

    The NSA isn't telling you they built SkyNet and gave control of it to HAL and do not have any control over what information is collected at all anymore.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 1:58pm

    They don't have to wait till 2015

    Hey congress-people. You don't have to wait till 2015. You can write a bill to effectively sunset Business Record collection now while the popular support for the issue is still strong.

    (and before you are all voted out of office in 2014)

     

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  5.  
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    Trelly (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:01pm

    Re:

    Or, even more accurately, what makes us believe they will even care if it is renewed? Just a few more laws to be in violation of.

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    FM Hilton, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:07pm

    Furthermore:

    What if the NSA doesn't give a good rat's ass about whether or not Section 215 is repealed or not?

    Who's to say they're going to even care if it's legal, and who's going to stop them from doing it, seriously, even if it is repealed in 2 years?

    Because they've done real good with legality of taking every single bit of data from everyone so far, haven't they?

    Their overwhelming sense of legality, ethics and morals just plain stuns one, doesn't it?

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:10pm

    Re: They don't have to wait till 2015

    Way to go, making terrorist threats to unseat congress people.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:14pm

    It's too bad he did not think of this while he was writing the goddamned thing.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: They don't have to wait till 2015

    Under the guise of stopping terrorists, they're collecting info on the entire US electorate. So maybe that is what they see us as.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:30pm

    Re:

    He just put his name on it, it was probably written by ALEC.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:47pm

    Sensenbrenner has zero credibility

    Sensenbrenner has ZERO credibility on the Patroit act.

    At least three times before civil rights defenders warned of the massive abuses the Patroit act would be used for, and Sensenbrenner dismissed the claims as hogwash and claimed there were safeguards built into the Patriot act to prevent such abuses.

    And then, OMG, each time the civil rights defenders were proven correct, and Sensenbrenner was SHOCKED and said NO ONE could have EVER foreseen those abuses of the Patriot act. No one except the people who were against it from the beginning apparently.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:58pm

    I don't believe the government EVER deletes the illegally seized data collected on law abiding citizens. Why would they, when digital storage devices are only getting cheaper, and cheaper.

    I guess we'll just have to take their word for it. Bwahaha! I'm sorry I couldn't say that with a straight face. :)

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 3:29pm

    Re:

    They can encrypt the data, in which case they can keep it indefinately. It would take quite a "traitor" to investigate such encrypted files without a previous authorizasion and if they want data from the file, it can probably be arranged to get an anonymous tip leading to the need for opening the file...

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 3:44pm

    Re: They don't have to wait till 2015

    Hey congress-people. You don't have to wait till 2015. You can write a bill to effectively sunset Business Record collection now while the popular support for the issue is still strong.

    They're hoping that all the controversy will die down by then, so that they can just rubber-stamp the renewal like they've been doing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: They don't have to wait till 2015

    Well the records of which phone ring which phone makes it easy to identify organizers and their lieutenants. These are the people to identify and go digging in the records for dirt to throw to stop a building political movement. This includes growing factions in political parties that might be looking to replace an incumbent congress person.

     

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  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 4:40pm

    Sensenbrenner has ZERO credibility on the Patroit act.

    At least three times before civil rights defenders warned of the massive abuses the Patroit act would be used for, and Sensenbrenner dismissed the claims as hogwash and claimed there were safeguards built into the Patriot act to prevent such abuses.

    And then, OMG, each time the civil rights defenders were proven correct, and Sensenbrenner was SHOCKED and said NO ONE could have EVER foreseen those abuses of the Patriot act. No one except the people who were against it from the beginning apparently.

    Glad someone gets it..

    If he wrote it, he has NO ONE ELSE TO BLAME BUT HIMSELF, good luck with trying to stop it. BTW: he's republican

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 4:44pm

    Author of Patriat act ... .LIES

    Sensenbrenner introduced the USA PATRIOT Act to the House on October 23, 2001. Sensenbrenner did not write the act; the primary author was Assistant Attorney General of the United States Viet Dinh.

    note:

    HE DID NOT WRITE THE ACT


    Sensenbrenner did not write the act

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 4:45pm

    Journalistic integrity - code of conduct

    what about Truthfulness ?

    Accuracy ??

    yea, right, like that going to happen..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 4:48pm

    Sensenbrenner, as the author of the Patriot Act, certainly isn't known for having a particularly strong focus on protecting civil liberties.

    You just cant tell the truth can you, cant help yourself, you have to repeat the same lies over and over again.

    What else do you tell us that is a blatant LIE ??

    Or is it the fact, the only way we can tell you are lying is because you are speaking ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    icon
    Matthew Cline (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 6:22pm

    Re: Sensenbrenner has zero credibility

    And then, OMG, each time the civil rights defenders were proven correct, and Sensenbrenner was SHOCKED and said NO ONE could have EVER foreseen those abuses of the Patriot act. No one except the people who were against it from the beginning apparently.
    To play devil's advocate, perhaps he means that the people who were arguing against it from the beginning are "stopped clocks", and just because they happen to be right twice a day doesn't mean they actually foresaw anything. Or, to put it another way, they were right for the wrong reasons, and therefore their reasoning can be ignored.

     

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  21.  
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    Paraquat (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 6:27pm

    Just a few bad apples...

    The US government abusing the Patriot Act? That just can't be true! If you can't trust the government, who can you trust? The USA is the freest nation in the world. The terrorists hate us for our freedoms. OK, there were a "few bad apples," as George Bush used to say, who did some really stupid things (like taking photos that embarrassed the government), but that problem has been solved (no more cameras allowed in the torture centers).

    I feel so much safer thanks to the Patriot Act. If you're not with us, you're against us.

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 7:08pm

    Re: They don't have to wait till 2015

    He can write such a bill, and that would be preferable, except Obama would veto it.

    But luckily it has a sunset provision. They don't have to worry about a veto if they just refuse to renew it.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 8:32pm

    Re: Furthermore:

    they already have their huge new data center in Utah, think they are gonna let that go to waste?

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Re: Sensenbrenner has zero credibility

    WTF???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 1:32am

    it will not make a shits worth of difference what happens in 2015, the law enforcement/security agencies will carry on doing whatever they want in whatever way they want. the USA has gone down a path that has and still is sacrificing peoples freedom and privacy because a very small number of very high ranking, powerful people think that there is nothing more important than taking away everyone's freedom and privacy in favour of more and more and more security and invasion of everyone doing everything!. unless this whole attitude is stopped and those with it removed from their positions, regardless of who says what is going to change, IT WILL NOT CHANGE! none involved give a flyin' fuck about anything or anyone except what is on there own, personal agenda. the USA government have no one but themselves to blame but unfortunately, those that took it on themselves to go down this particular path are not going to worry about or take notice of anyone!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Jul 18th, 2013 @ 3:17am

    Re: Just a few bad apples...

    I tip my hat to a master of dry sarcasm... at least I hope that's what it is :-) Around here you can't always tell

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    I think the commenter who says that this incident will have little or no effect on what happens at the end of 2015 is right, but not for the reason he/she cites. The legislative branch can curb the executive branch's excesses, but politicians and the voting public have a short memory. Some other distraction will have people's attention by then. Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it.

    Maybe Snowden should have waited until late 2014 or early 2015 to release the information so it would have a better chance of changing the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 7:02am

    This is Great

    Finally this NSA stuff provides some benefit to the American people, this is great news.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: Furthermore:

    When was government waste ever a concern for the executive branch?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    The Gray Adder, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 10:03am

    In other words...

    ...the Republican who wrote the USA PATRIOT Act had no idea that the provisions contained therein would actually be used by a Democratic administration. Oh, the horror!

    Well, go ahead, don't renew Section 215. See if we care.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anzablazer, Jul 18th, 2013 @ 10:29am

    All Obama has done is create and try to hide a Secret Government Fascist Police State. We are being surrounded by a fascist police state. They're just waiting to snap the noose. Hitler would of been proud of what Obama has made. NSA, IRS Spying, Manipulating the NEW Media, Phone tapping without due process.30,000 Drone over America. Fema Camps. Training Russian Troops to help in times of marshal law. You could be getting your head cracked by a Russian while there confiscating your Gun's. Every person with a Gun and a Badge in a Government Union. Camera's everywhere. Your already living in a prison. There just waiting to slam an lock the door's. Obama is nothing but a dirty stinking back stabbing traitor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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