Yet with Section 215’s lifespan now stretching to a matter of weeks, supporters of broad surveillance powers have yet to put forth a bill for their preservation – evidence, opponents believe, that the votes for reauthorization do not exist, particularly not in the House of Representatives.
More likely, according to a multiple Hill sources, is a different option under consideration: making the major NSA reform bill of the last Congress the point of departure for reauthorizing 215 in the current one.
The bill would not abridge NSA collection of Americans’ international communications, nor prevent the NSA or the FBI from warrantlessly searching through its troves of them for Americans’ identifying information. Nor would it restrict a constellation of surveillance efforts authorized by a Reagan-era executive order. Even a recently disclosed bulk domestic phone records collection dragnet by the Drug Enforcement Agency would be untouched.
“We should be demanding more reforms than the intelligence agencies are gladly willing to offer us,” said David Segal of the activist group Demand Progress.
– From the Guardian article: NSA and FBI Fight to Retain Spy Powers as Surveillance Law Nears Expiration
June 1, 2015 is a very important day for American civil liberties and the Constitution. On that day, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, one of the most egregious pieces of legislation passed in U.S. history, will expire automatically without reauthorization from Congress. Naturally, this is causing a panic attack within the heart of the NSA, FBI and all the authoritarian lackey legislators in Washington D.C. With the chances of a clean reauthorization next to none, these crafty “representatives” and their puppeteers need to figure out a way to sneak it into another piece of legislation. What better way to do this than making it a part of something that ostensibly appears to be reining in surveillance powers. Enter the USA Freedom Act.
The USA Freedom Act is nothing new. A version of it passed the House last spring, before dying in the Senate. Rand Paul surprised many people by saying he would not support it because it didn’t go far enough. Additionally, one of its key cosponsors ultimately failed to support his own bill. I covered this in the post, Congress Guts Anti-NSA Spying Bill Beyond Recognition; Original Cosponsor Justin Amash Votes No. Here’s an excerpt:
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