We've already discussed how it appears that Congress is set to extend the Patriot Act
with little debate yet again, despite the growing evidence
of rather massive abuses of the law by law enforcement officials, with little to no evidence that the law has actually helped. As it stands now, in the Senate there are apparently three competing versions of the extension
, and not a single proposal that would actually cut off the highly controversial sections that allow for spying on Americans with little to no oversight.
The three Senate bills kick off with one from Senator Patrick Leahy, which would extend the various provisions until the end of 2013, but would also include a tiny bit more oversight.
Then there's a version from Senator Chuck Grassley which gives up on this fake "sunsetting" idea and just says let's extend the provisions permanently without any additional oversight, and let the US gov't spy on Americans with no plan to ever go back and see if that makes sense. Stunningly, Grassley is apparently claiming that "temporary extensions and the threat of oversight would hinder U.S. intelligence agents." Think about that for a second. Apparently Senator Grassley thinks that actually making sure the US gov't isn't abusing the law would "hinder US intelligence."
Then there's Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has apparently tried to set up a "middle ground" approach between the other two, where it would extend the provisions until the end of 2013, but wouldn't increase any oversight:
Note the ridiculous situation this sets up. Feinstein's bill is technically "in the middle," but it's a middle that's shifted all the way down at the end of the ridiculous spectrum where the only
option is to extend these widely abused and not at all necessary provisions.
Meanwhile, over in the House, the new leadership is simply trying to rush through an entirely new bill
that will just push off any discussion until next year.