The Hightower Report: Repeal the Patriot Act
Unlimited power invites abuse
It's back. The Patriot Act – a grotesque, ever-mutating, hydra-headed monstrosity from the Bush-Cheney Little Shop of Horrors – has risen again, this time with an added twist of Orwellian intrusiveness from the Obamacans.
Since 2006, Team Bush, and then Team Obama, have allowed the little-known, hugely-powerful National Security Agency to run a daily dragnet through your and my phone calls – all on the hush-hush, of course, not informing us spyees. Now exposed, leaders of both parties are pointing to the Patriot Act, saying that it makes this wholesale, everyday invasion of our privacy perfectly legal.
When the story broke, Obama dissembled, calling these massive and routine violations of the Fourth Amendment "modest intrusions" that are "worth us doing" to make us more secure. He added disingenuously that Congress is regularly briefed about the program. In fact, only a handful of members are briefed, and they have been flatly lied to by Obama's director of national intelligence. Yet, Sen. Dianne Feinstein loyally defends spying on Americans, claiming it protects us from terrorists. But she then admitted she really doesn't know how the mountains of data are being used.
This is nothing but a bottomless "trust us" swamp, created by the panicky passage and irresponsible reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Secretly seizing everyone's phone records is, as the ACLU put it, "beyond Orwellian." As a New York Times editorial flatly and rightly says, "The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue." But no administration can be trusted to restrain itself from abusing the unlimited power of the Patriot Act.
It's not enough to fight the NSA's outrageously invasive spying on us – the Patriot Act itself is a shameful betrayal of America's ideals, and it must be repealed.