Big Sis Breaks Out “Heightened” Terror Alert As PATRIOT ACT Extension Heads Back To House Floor
Republicans and Democrats attempt to out do each other in quest to finish off freedom
Steve Watson & Paul Joseph Watson
Feb 10, 2011
Defeat for the proposed extension of the so called PATRIOT Act in the House Tuesday night made national headlines, yet the extension is set to pass by the end of the week anyway as it is brought back to the floor for another vote. But just in case anyone in Congress reaches the sudden epiphany that they are effectively voting on the Enabling Act, Big Sis Janet Napolitano has officially notified a congressional panel that the US faces the greatest possibility of a major terror attack since 9/11.
House Republicans wanted to extend three of the PATRIOT Act’s most draconian provisions by a further year. For anyone who values the Constitution and freedom per se, that was bad enough, yet Obama went one better, stunning many in the House by suggesting that the legislation be extended for another THREE years.
A prepared statement issued Tuesday afternoon stated that Obama “would strongly prefer enactment of reauthorizing legislation that would extend these authorities until December 2013.”
Republicans attempted to fast track the extension using an expedited procedure that allowed for just a 40 minute debate and no amendments. However, this failed to pass as under such rules a 2/3rds super majority is required.
Even so, the extension fell short by just 7 votes, making it extremely likely that the bill will pass when it is brought back the floor either today or tomorrow. Under standard rules, only a simple majority will be needed for the extension to pass.
The ACLU describes the three provisions that would be extended under the bill:
Section 215 of the Patriot Act authorizes the government to obtain “any tangible thing” relevant to a terrorism investigation, even if there is no showing that the “thing” pertains to suspected terrorists or terrorist activities. This provision is contrary to traditional notions of search and seizure, which require the government to show reasonable suspicion or probable cause before undertaking an investigation that infringes upon a person’s privacy. Congress must ensure that things collected with this power have a meaningful nexus to suspected terrorist activity or it should be allowed to expire.
Section 206 of the Patriot Act, also known as “roving John Doe wiretap” provision, permits the government to obtain intelligence surveillance orders that identify neither the person nor the facility to be tapped. This provision is contrary to traditional notions of search and seizure, which require government to state with particularity what it seeks to search or seize. Section 206 should be amended to mirror similar and longstanding criminal laws that permit roving wiretaps, but require the naming of a specific target. Otherwise, it should expire.
Section 6001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, or the so-called “Lone Wolf” provision, permits secret intelligence surveillance of non-US persons who are not affiliated with a foreign organization. Such an authorization, granted only in secret courts is subject to abuse and threatens our longtime understandings of the limits of the government’s investigatory powers within the borders of the United States. This provision has never been used and should be allowed to expire outright.
In addition, Senate Democrats are set to fast track the companion legislation (S. 149) to the House bill, as they seek to bypass the committee process and push the bill straight to the floor.
Unless the likes of Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich can attract scores of their peers to change their votes and defect from the party agenda, then the passage of the legislation is assured.