Washington Post Editorial Board Is Very Upset That Rand Paul Dared To Filibuster NSA Spying

So, we were sitting around at working, waiting for the customers, and had a discussion on NSA spying. Interestingly, a mix of Conservatives and Progressives all determined that the bulk collection of data was a Bad Thing, and a violation of our rights. Even the Muslims determined that the program should be targeted to the bad actors of their faith. Also agreed that the rewrite, where that data would be left in the hands of telecom companies for easy request by Los Federales is a Bad Thing. But, don’t tell the WPEB, which has a little hissy fit aimed at Rand Paul

Rand Paul should stop stalling the USA Freedom Act

LEGISLATION TO reform the National Security Agency’s surveillance of telephone metadata and put it on a firmer legal footing has passed the House with a huge bipartisan majority. President Obama backs it, as does a bipartisan majority in the Senate. The Senate would have passed the bill, too, but for the machinations of the majority leader, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who favored an ill-considered perpetuation of the status quo.

For the fact that even the current, debatable legal basis of the NSA program has lapsed, at least temporarily, we have Mr. McConnell to thank — along with Kentucky’s other Republican senator. When Mr. McConnell finally allowed the reform compromise, known as the USA Freedom Act, to move Sunday, Rand Paul used procedural maneuvers to block a vote on it until at least Tuesday.

Mr. McConnell accused Mr. Paul, who’s running for president, of playing politics, which is true — up to a point. For Mr. Paul, opposition to NSA “spying” is a matter of libertarian principle bordering on passion. Indeed, the matter excites him so much that he has aimed extreme, sloppy rhetoric at those who don’t share his views, suggesting, for example, that “some people are so fearful” of terrorism that they believe “ISIS will be in every drug store in America, in every house, if we don’t get rid of the Constitution.”

So this is Important to Senator Paul. It only seems to be the Political Class which are accusing him of playing politics, despite him having had a problem with this for a long, long time. Someone should tell the WPEB that We The People also have a big damned problem with this. Hey, remember when Bush was president and liberal media outlets and online presences had a big problem with the Patriot Act (yes, many libertarians had a big problem with it, as well).

Mr. Paul is the one misstating constitutional law. “[T]he phone records of law-abiding Americans are none of the government’s business!” his campaign Web site declares. Actually, the Supreme Court held 36 years ago that there is no constitutional right to privacy in phone records (as opposed to phone conversations). The court reasoned, realistically, that customers willingly convey numbers and times to the phone company each time they dial, knowing that the company retains the information for business purposes. Technology was more primitive in 1979; the justices may well decide that Fourth Amendment doctrine needs updating. Meanwhile, it is not tyrannical for government to rely on existing precedent.

Yes, it is legal for those companies to have the data, data which, per that court opinion, is held by those companies, which customers choose to sign up with, and are provided with their terms. Consumers can choose not to engage in commerce with these companies. However, the problem here is in the Government scooping it all up from the telecom companies, and, bigger, that the NSA is directly collecting it themselves, and they are apparently collecting way more than just phone numbers and times. They are collecting emails and online activity in bulk. And this has done what, exactly? They can’t say that it has stopped any threats.

Mr. Paul calls the NSA program “illegal,” which is somewhat more plausible, since the Bush and Obama administrations stretched the terms of the USA Patriot Act to win approval for it from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. If so, the cure is a new law, such as the one Mr. Paul just gratuitously blocked. The USA Freedom Act leaves metadata collection to the private sector, subject to searches approved by the intelligence court, but Mr. Paul thinks anything short of a warrant from an ordinary federal court would be unconstitutional. Again, he’s entitled to his opinion; again, it’s contrary to current Fourth Amendment law, as the legislation’s authors, senior Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate Judiciary committees, well understand.

So, the WPEB admits that it will still be pretty darned easy for the information to be taken from the telecom companies, when it comes to phone records. What of the rest? One has to wonder what the WPEB would be saying if Bush was President (or some Republican), or if the filibuster came from a Democrat Senator. The 4th gives Citizens a right to be secure in their personal effects, without a duly sworn, specific warrant.

Denouncing fear and paranoia about terrorism, Mr. Paul sows fear and paranoia about government. Today, as always, the Constitution calls on us to balance liberty and security democratically. This is what the USA Freedom Act will do, just as soon as Mr. Paul stops grandstanding and lets his colleagues vote on it.

I missed that part about balancing liberty and security in my copy of the Bill of Rights.

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3 Responses to “Washington Post Editorial Board Is Very Upset That Rand Paul Dared To Filibuster NSA Spying”

  1. Liam Thomas says:

    What is mindlessly funny about this.

    Now that the democratic president is in charge and hes the one wanting to continue
    BUSH’S policies…….

    The programs are not exactly new — both began under President Bush. Indeed, on May 11, 2006, Bush appeared in the White House’s Diplomatic Reception Room to offer his own defense of the NSA’s phone-snooping efforts. Seven years apart, history appears to be repeating itself.

    Bush: “After September the 11th, I vowed to the American people that our government would do everything within the law to protect them against another terrorist attack.”

    Obama: “When I came into this office, I made two commitments that are more important than any that I make: number one, to keep the American people safe and, number two, to uphold the Constitution.”

    Bush: “The privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all our activities.”

    Obama: “That includes what I consider to be a constitutional right to privacy.”

    Bush: “The intelligence activities I authorized are lawful and have been briefed to appropriate members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat.”

    Obama: “When it comes to telephone calls, every member of Congress has been briefed on this program. With respect to all these programs the relevant intelligence committees are fully briefed.”

    Bush: “The government does not listen to domestic phone calls without court approval.”

    Obama: “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls … If the intelligence community actually wants to listen to a phone call, they’ve got to go back to a federal judge.”

    Bush: “So far we’ve been very successful in preventing another attack on our soil.”

    Obama: “They make a difference in our capacity to anticipate and prevent possible terrorist activity.”

    Bush: “As a general matter, every time sensitive intelligence is leaked, it hurts our ability to defeat this enemy.”

    Obama: “I don’t welcome leaks, because there’s a reason why these programs are classified.”

    YET…in 2004-2007 when the NSA program became public the left wing went ape shit repeating a billion times a day that BUSH was PISSING ON THE CONSTITUTION….

    Now that the democrat Obama is in charge………THOSE STUPID REPUBLICANS who are against the NSA snooping are disloyal whackos intent upon destroying Americas ability to defend herself.

    I personally am all for the NSA program…If you got something to hide…dont use the damn phone!!!

  2. Deserttrek says:

    too bad its not the stupid republicans as one person thinks, it is people who read the Constitution and know the government is spying and illegally gathering information. they also know no attacks have been stopped and the fbi is also flying over cities to gather information , again against the Constitution. and those who say nothing to hide are cowards and live on their knees believing the lies of government. pathetic fools

  3. Liam Thomas says:

    too bad its not the stupid republicans as one person thinks,

    The point is that both parties use the same BS to buffalo the voters. And remember Im pretty sure their are some billionaires out there making drones…Oh wait…didnt I read somewhere that Mark Zuckerberg bought a drone company?

    Gee Imagine that….a far left progressive billionaire screaming bush is evil all the while making the very drones that Obama is using to spy on us……….

    Never ceases to amaze me how the people are so ff’ing stupid as to not see all this….I guess that answers the question…if the government asks you to jump off a cliff?

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