This is an article about the eavesdropping scandal currently dominating press reporting on the Obama Administration. I will say offhand that I have very mixed emotions about the intelligence gathering going on. First of all, if the intelligence gathering is so universal and has been going on since 2007, why did it miss the Fort Hood shooting, the 2009 recruiting office shooting in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the Boston Marathon bombings? Of these three the Boston Marathon bombing should have been the easiest to foresee simply by looking at the travel records of the older brother involved.To add to my mixed emotions is the fact that Andrew McCarthy, someone I totally trust on matters of terrorism and the role of government, has stated that he is not bothered by the National Security Agency’s intelligence gathering. I have also heard a recent interview of John Bolton, someone whose opinion I also respect, in which he stated that he was not overly concerned about the information gathering.
Washington, Jun 6 - Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) today sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s application for a top secret court order to collect the phone records of essentially every call made by millions of Verizon customers.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “As the author of the Patriot Act, I am extremely troubled by the FBI’s interpretation of this legislation. While I believe the Patriot Act appropriately balanced national security concerns and civil rights, I have always worried about potential abuses. The Bureau’s broad application for phone records was made under the so-called business records provision of the Act. I do not believe the broadly drafted FISA order is consistent with the requirements of the Patriot Act. Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American.”
Since Representative Sensenbrenner was one of the authors of the Patriot Act, I believe he needs to be listened to on this matter.
In his article for the Guardian, Representative Sensenbrenner states:
Technically, the administration’s actions were lawful insofar as they were done pursuant to an order from the Fisa court. But based on the scope of the released order, both the administration and the Fisa court are relying on an unbounded interpretation of the act that Congress never intended.
The released Fisa order requires daily productions of the details of every call that every American makes, as well as calls made by foreigners to or from the United States. Congress intended to allow the intelligence communities to access targeted information for specific investigations. How can every call that every American makes or receives be relevant to a specific investigation?
This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.
As I said at the beginning of this article, I have very mixed emotions on this. Because someone in the Obama Administration used the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to target conservatives, how do we know that the NSA information will not also be used to target specific groups? We don’t live in a vacuum. Without the IRS scandal, I might be willing to ignore the NSA snooping, but with the IRS scandal, it has a much more sinister look. I have reached no conclusion except to conclude that I need more information.