Author Of The Patriot Act Says Patriot Act Was Written Specifically To Prevent NSA Data Mining

from the well,-how-about-that dept

We already wrote how the main backer of the Patriot Act, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, has said that it was never intended to allow dragnet surveillance of all phone records, as recently revealed. However, it appears he’s not done yet in fighting back against this abusive interpretation of the law he sponsored and championed. He’s now claiming that those who are defending the NSA and claiming that there’s no big deal in having the NSA collect all that data are spewing “a bunch of bunk” directly claiming that the key provision of the Patriot Act, Section 215, was drafted to prevent such data mining.

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the PATRIOT Act on the House floor in 2001, has declared that lawmakers’ and the executive branch’s excuses about recent revelations of NSA activity are “a bunch of bunk.”

In an interview on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Wednesday morning, the Republican congressman from Wisconsin reiterated his concerns that the administration and the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court have gone far beyond what the PATRIOT Act intended. Specifically, he said that Section 215 of the act “was originally drafted to prevent data mining” on the scale that’s occurred.

He also claims that people calling Ed Snowden a traitor are off base because without Snowden, he wouldn’t have known how the Patriot Act was being abused. That’s quite an incredible statement when you think about it. While we can argue that Sensenbrenner, given his role in Congress, probably had an obligation to further investigate how the law was being used — especially given the warnings raised by other members of Congress — it still seems to weigh pretty heavily in favor of showing how valuable these disclosures have been as whistleblowing. The very author of the Patriot Act claims that the leaks enabled him to realize that the law is being used in direct contrast to his intentions. Perhaps it’s now time to fix that.

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Comments on “Author Of The Patriot Act Says Patriot Act Was Written Specifically To Prevent NSA Data Mining”

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Nom says:


Oh, he probably heard something about it at some point, but it was easily dismissed as paranoid rumours. After all, he wrote it, so he knew the law didn’t grant that kind of power.

The difference between all previous evidence, and this latest leak, is that there is solid evidence that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt what the NSA has done. That and the proof has been flaunted by the media rather aggressively.

It is akin to me accusing you of being a shill for techdirt. Unless I can show financial records directly linking you to techdirt’s payroll. The claims are easily dismissed. But if I gain those records, it would be a more difficult for people to ignore the argument.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: BALONEY! At best, DIDN'T WORK!

“After all, he wrote it, so he knew the law didn’t grant that kind of power.”

Except the law did NOT grant that kind of power. The law granted the government the ability to SEEK a court order. Nothing says that the order has to be GRANTED when it’s blatantly unconstitutional.

It would be like if you passed a law allowing people to get restraining orders, and I convince a judge to grant one for me against everyone in the country, and then I have anyone who tries to shake my hand arrested. The problem is not with the law; it’s with how it was applied by the judge. When an order applies to everyone in the country, that’s a good sign that it’s overbroad and should be denied.

Anonymous Coward says:

How did he vote on the renewal of the Patriot Act/FISA? Was he asking questions when Wyden was more or less telling people what was going on or did he just assume his intent of the law was being upheld rather than abused?

I mean good for him for what he’s doing now, but where the hell has he been for the last 12 years?

Anonymous Coward says:

i think it shows that before voting on bills of any description, everyone should be reading off the same hymn sheet. whistle blowers should be protected and not be classed as ‘enemies of the state’. their claims should be investigated thoroughly, without any form of intimidation, and sensible conclusions drawn. those that do publicly declare something like this, dont do it for personal or financial gain. they do it because they are seriously concerned that there are very bad things going on that everyone need to be made aware of.

the other thing is that before voting a bill into law or giving it a time extension, it should bloody well be checked through properly, not just granted out of hand!

Michael (profile) says:

You really have to appreciate the fantastic work our representatives do these days. They are constantly looking into the HUGE S***TY SPIDERWEBS they create and making sure they are not being misused by the people they have granted this power to.

How pathetic is it that a contractor working for the NSA knows more about how laws are being applied that the F***ING representative that wrote the thing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sensenbrenner has no credibility

Sensenbrenner has zero credibility. He’s been ‘shocked’ at how his PATRIOT act was being used and abused at least 3 times, despite people who opposed the PATRIOT act warning of those exact same abuses becoming a common thing if they passed that version of the PATRIOT act.

Or, here’s an amusing, but similar example to make that point.

Sensenbrenner: As you all know some people recently froze to death this winter because they accidentally locked themselves out of their home during a snow storm. In order to prevent the problem of people locking themselves out of their home by accident we’re giving everyone a lock pick so they can’t do that anymore, and teaching everyone how to use it properly.

Public: But then criminals can get into your home to no problem.

Sensenbrenner: Nonsense! That’ll never happen, it’ll be written right into the training material not to do that!

*a few years later*

Public: Home break ins have gone up over 10,000% since you passed your lock picking bill. It’s been a disaster and abused just like we predicted.

Sensenbrenner: OMG, I’m SHOCKED that someone abused my lock picking law, even though I wrote write in it to NOT do that! Well we can fix it with a few small adjustments.

Public: Like getting rid of the lock picking program?

Sensenbrenner: No! That’s a vital tool to stopping people from locking themselves out of their homes! In the name of home security we can’t do that!

Anonymous Coward 2 says:

Re: Sensenbrenner has no credibility

I was with you right up until the lock picking thing…

It is a decent example in some ways but terrible in most – break ins would probably remain relatively constant. People are not likely to spend 2-20mins picking a lock when they can break a window in 5 seconds with a rock.

The people who perform break ins are unlikely to have been held back by a lack of knowledge of lockpicking.

Anonymous Coward says:

A bill for the people

There needs to be a new law that allows regular people to view all of of our politicians private data.

Then see how long it takes for all of these spy programs go away.I mean if they have nothing to hide…

On a side note. If everyone’s secrets become available to everyone, the Tabloids will have nothing to write about except alien babies.

Think of the Tabloids.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Ah, memories.

In his defense, he probably knew the government would TRY to do this sort of thing, but figured the FISA court would just deny this sort of request.

I mean, most judges would have the sense to know that getting phone records for the ENTIRE COUNTRY on a daily basis for YEARS is unconstitutional.

Seriously, what is the point of even HAVING the FISA court if they aren’t going to deny something like this?

Anonymous Coward says:

“The very author of the Patriot Act claims that the leaks enabled him to realize that the law is being used in direct contrast to his intentions. Perhaps it’s now time to fix that.”

Yes, now it’s patently obvious the law should be re-written to make this perfectly legal…in fact, it should be amended to be 3 times as intrusive just to be sure it can’t be challenged.

Anonymous Coward says:

NSA interpretation of the word "collection"

This is like the following occurring in a place like California where possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes is legal:

Officer: You are under arrest for possession of marijuana.
Suspect: But it is for medicinal purposes and I only intend to use it for that purpose.
Officer: What condition do you have that warrants possession of it?
Suspect: I don’t have any medical conditions. I just have it in case I develop one. Then I will use it for that.
Officer: Oh ok then. You are free to go.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: NSA interpretation of the word "collection"

That’s just silly. First, a cop wouldn’t ask that. He’d ask to see the medical marijuana card, which is intended to certify the medical need.

Second, if the cop did ask that, and the suspect gave that answer, then the cop doesn’t say “off you go, then,” the cop adds yet another charge to the list: perjury, for lying when obtaining the medical marijuana card.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: NSA interpretation of the word "collection"

Of course it is silly. It is supposed to be. Just like the NSA interpretation of the word collection. Someone saying that they have marijuana in their possession for medicinal purposes to treat a condition that they don’t have just in case they might need it to treat a condition that they might get is just as silly of a justification for having it as the NSA saying that they should be allowed to wholesale collect data on Americans communications that they are not going to look at unless they need to for a purpose that wasn’t apparent at the time they acquired it.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Since the dawn of time...

During the Holy Inquisition during the middle ages, we’ve seen policies enacted with the intent of restrained use carried to their maximal (and most horrific) conclusions.

The most commonly known example was the bull from the Holy See saying suspects could only be tortured once, after which inquisitors brought up the notion of continuance.

What’s extra special was the idea that confessions of witness during torture were regarded legitimate, so that a suspect would be tortured until he or she revealed accomplices.

That then led to the idea of torturing those who witnessed an incident, even if they weren’t suspect. It was just to make sure they weren’t omitting any details.

You’d think after that we’d have learned that any stupid law that was given too wide a net would be applied to every ridiculous situation it could.

But no. Just because we elect the bastards doesn’t mean they gain a modicum of sense of responsibility.

mjt says:

need more Snowden's

I can tell a little bit few knows.Look up FISA,Sneak Peek warrant.In my home military Camouflage made by Guy Kramer,Quantum Stealth,really does work.I used a cellphone camera,took pictures when I thought I herd something,I used a picture app to lighten the back ground and I messed with it till I found a cop uniform and checked other pictures I’ve had an they showed weird things in them,I found out they even use the Camouflage on there Vehicles. They was trying to make my family and I think we’re haunted and Ghosts were responsible for everything strange happening.
WHAT BILL COVERS THAT,which ever one does,we all need to act like EGYPT IS.THERE’S ALOT OF ABUSE GOING ON IN OUR COUNTRY AND 5 KIDS MY LADY AND I HAVE HAD OUR LIVES DESTROYED. Look up how many lawsuits against child welfair,good lawyers lives ruined, good psychiatrist complaining suing. Because a carrier they worked hard for was stolen from them because they wouldn’t go along with destroying American people.look up agenda21,they took 1500 homes in Florida, people only have 65%of there land somewhere in the middle of this country,can’t remember it all.hope everyone pulls together soon,we’re loosing here.forced vaccines in Maryland, gun point medicine FORCED BRAIN IMPLANTS,RFID CHIPS IN OUR HANDS.You know, I thought yea,not me,then I woke up sore hurt,my ears never stopped ringing after that,Dam,they got me,forced brain Implanted me,probably my kids too.not hard to tell when you hurt in key places in your skull and it doesn’t go away,EVER.Think About It.

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