Moral Outrage
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US Senators reveal secret Patriot Act

You may think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) says it’s worse than you’ve heard.

Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law, but Wyden says that is a mere fig leaf for a far broader legal interpretation of the Patriot Act that the government keeps to itself — entirely in secret. Worse, there are hints that the government uses this secret interpretation to gather what one Patriot-watcher calls a “dragnet” for massive amounts of information on private citizens.

As a member of the intelligence committee, Wyden laments that he can’t precisely explain without disclosing classified information. He and his colleague Sen. Mark Udall offered an amendment on Tuesday to the Patriot Act reauthorization.

Udall warned in a Tuesday statement about the government’s “unfettered” access to bulk citizen data, like “a cellphone company’s phone records.” In a Senate floor speech on Tuesday, Udall urged Congress to restrict the Patriot Act’s business-records seizures to “terrorism investigations” — something the ostensible counterterrorism measure has never required in its nearly 10-year existence.

[Excerpt of a “Wired“article by Spencer Ackerman]


One Response to “US Senators reveal secret Patriot Act”

  1. Republican Senator Rand Paul (KY) said in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday that questioning the constitutionality of the PATRIOT Act was not equivalent to supporting terrorists.

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Paul introduced an amendment to the PATRIOT Act on Monday that attempts to safeguard American’s civil liberties by increasing oversight of government surveillance powers.

    “Do we want a land, a government without so much restraint that at any time they can come into your house?” Paul said. “We were very worried about that. That’s why our country was founded on principles such as the Fourth Amendment.”

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