‘Zero checks & balances: Americans being swept up in massive surveillance net’

Wednesday, September 13, 2017
By Paul Martin

13 Sep, 2017

We’re seeing a constant degrading of Americans’ privacy, whether they are in the US or traveling abroad, says Russ Baker, editor-in-chief of WhoWhatWhy.com. Former US intelligence officer Scott Rickard also joins the discussion.

The Trump administration is calling on Congress to reauthorize a surveillance law, which is due to expire at the end of the year.

Moreover, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and National Intelligence Director Dan Coats on Monday asked Congress in a letter to reauthorize a section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) scheduled to expire at the end of the year.

The letter, which can be read here, argues that Section 702 of FISA “produces significant foreign intelligence that is vital to protect the nation against international terrorism and other threats.”

Critics, however, say the FISA provisions, which Sessions and Coats want to see made permanent, are steadily eroding civil rights.

RT: If this surveillance law is reauthorized, what will it mean for everyday people?

Russ Baker: My concern here regarding FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) is that it was originally established in 1978 as a protection against abuses that were being committed by representatives of the US government. Over the years, this law has been turned around to itself become a vehicle for abuses. And we’ve seen tremendous ones. We also saw, for example, under President George W. Bush they violated the provision that they could not go after alleged terrorist organizations without getting a court order. They went right ahead, and they did that, and there were no serious repercussions. Now, as I understand, what they’d like to do is make this law permanent. So we’re seeing a constant degrading of the protections of the rights of Americans, whether they are in the US or they’re traveling abroad because they’ve created this tremendous net. Since 2001, it has been expanded to create all manner of electronic communications. Ostensibly this is only supposed to be targeting foreigners. But, for example, I am speaking to you – they could be targeting you. You could be on some kind of list as a foreign organization, and therefore I am getting swept up even though I am an American citizen.

The Rest…HERE

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