The U.S. Constitution was not written to give Americans their rights. It was written to insure that the government respected the God-given rights of Americans. The Constitution was written to limit the rights of the government–not the rights of Americans. That concept seems to have gotten lost in recent years.
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
The government in recent years has violated that amendment by spying on Americans without cause or has invented causes (see Carter Page). Now that it has come to light that some Congressional staffers were spied on, Congress has decided to do something about it.
On Friday, Just the News reported:
House Judiciary Committee Republicans are pressing ahead with sweeping reforms to the government’s FISA surveillance powers that among other things would would prohibit the FBI from searching through Americans’ phone records without a court-approved warrant.
The effort is on track to be wrapped up by the end of the year when several Patriot Act powers expire. Republicans and Democrats are coming together on this matter in rare bipartisan cooperation, lawmakers told Just the News.
“We’ve got, I think, strong agreement amongst members of the Intel Committee and members of the Judiciary Committee. And frankly some Democrats as well, that there needs to be stronger penalties if you abuse the system,” Judiciary Committee Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show in an interview aired Friday night.
Jordan said he was focused on what is known as the Section 702 system “where they can create this database” of phone communications metadata that currently can be searched by agents without a warrant.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court earlier this year declassified a report revealing that FBI agents had inappropriately searched Americans’ phone records more than 270,000 times over a two year period, alarming civil liberty experts and generating bipartisan condemnation.
I hate to be cynical, but it seems that Congress is only getting around to dealing with this problem when it affected them. That’s okay. I just hope they successfully end unwarranted government spying on American citizens.