Author Of The PATRIOT Act Goes To EU Parliament To Admit Congress Failed, And The NSA Is Out Of Control
from the didn't-see-that-coming dept
Even so, it's perhaps even more incredible to see that Sensenbrenner has now gone over to the EU Parliament to admit that the NSA is out of control and needs to be reined in. While it doesn't sound like he got all the way to a complete apology, he appears to have come pretty close. According to Bridget Johnson's writeup at the PJ Tatler:
Sensenbrenner told the EU parliamentarians that “Congress knew the country needed new tools and broader authorities to combat those who meant to harm us, but we never intended to allow the National Security Agency to peer indiscriminately into the lives of innocent people all over the world.”Sensenbrenner promised more strict oversight from Congress, but also noted (realistically) that Congress's authority is mostly limited to domestic spying -- and that the US government needed to work more closely with foreign governments concerning foreign spying. Given who's saying it, this is a rather startling statement.
Sensenbrenner noted that he “worked under strict time constraints” to forge the Patriot Act and get it passed.
“I firmly believe the Patriot Act saved lives by strengthening the ability of intelligence agencies to track and stop potential terrorists, but in the past few years, the National Security Agency has weakened, misconstrued and ignored the civil liberty protections we drafted into the law,” he said, adding that the NSA “ignored restrictions painstakingly crafted by lawmakers and assumed a plenary authority we never imagined.”
“Worse, the NSA has cloaked its operations behind such a thick cloud of secrecy that, even if the NSA promised reforms, we would lack the ability to verify them.”
Sensenbrenner said the “constant stream of disclosures about US surveillance since June has surprised and appalled me as much as it has the American public and our international allies.”