Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.
The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Civil Libertarians Dismayed by Patriot Amendments

I just spoke to Kevin Bankston, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s senior attorney specializing in free speech and privacy law, about his reaction to today’s

Tyreece Bauer
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Oct 09, 2009

I just spoke to Kevin Bankston, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s senior attorney specializing in free speech and privacy law, about his reaction to today’s Senate Judiciary Committee markup session on the Patriot Act, which resulted in passage of the Leahy-Feinstein bill, with a few amendments. Bankston, who’s been following this debate closely, was not pleased.

“We’re deeply disappointed that the Obama administration sided with the committee Republicans to pass amendments to remove reforms from the already watered-down bill,” he said this afternoon, referring to seven amendments, five of which were introduced by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-S.C.), which removed civil liberties protections and which Sessions said were mostly recommended by the Obama administration’s FBI and Justice Department in closed-door classified briefings.

“We’re very disappointed in the final bill that was voted out of committee,” said Bankston. “It has fewer reforms than the original bill from Sen. Leahy, and it’s a very far cry from Sen. Feingold and Durbin’s JUSTICE Act.” The JUSTICE Act would have required the government to specify more clearly the targets of their investigations and their connections to terrorism, to keep the FBI from using its authority to engage in broad-based data-mining of Americans’ phone, library and business records.

The amendments adopted included removing a requirement that the FBI periodically review its gag orders on National Security Letter recipients, removed judicial review for those gag orders, and watered down an effort to heighten the showing required when the FBI is seeking library records. The text of the final amendments and votes on each is available on the Judiciary Committee’s Website here.

Bankston was also disappointed that the Judiciary Committee refused to consider amendments to the FISA Amendments Act passed last year, which he calls “a much graver threat to civil liberties.” Feingold’s attempt to offer an amendment was withdrawn when Committee Chairman Leahy said he’d oppose it on procedural grounds.

To Bankston, this was all evidence that Congress is far too willing to cave to the wishes of a Democratic administration, even if its proposals are just as bad for the civil liberties of Americans as the Republican administration’s were.

“In 2005, the Judiciary Committee was able to pass much stronger reforms under a Republican administration,” said Bankston. “Now, in a position of power and with a vaunted supermajority, the Democrats are still bargaining against themselves rather than having a united front and introducing new civil liberties protections. I think it’s because of the White House’s position that these powers need to be renewed. There’s an unwillingness to consider even minor reforms.”

The American Civil Liberties Union was similarly disappointed, and Michael Macleod-Ball, Acting Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, came out with this statement this afternoon:

We are disappointed that further changes were not made to ensure Americans’ civil liberties would be adequately protected by this Patriot Act legislation. This truly was a missed opportun Sity for the Senate Judiciary Committee to right the wrongs of the Patriot Act and stand up for Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. The meager improvements made during this markup will certainly be overshadowed by allowing so many horrible amendments to be added to an already weak bill. Congress cannot continue to make this mistake with the Patriot Act again and again. We urge the Senate to adopt amendments on the floor that will bring this bill in line with the Constitution.

Tyreece Bauer | Analyst and photographer in the field of technology. When I'm not working on my laptop, I like to go surfing, hiking with friends, and go karting or play soccer with my nephew. I enjoy traveling and am excited to visit Tokyo this summer. What are your plans for your next trip?

Related

$1.89 billion given to states to fight HIV

The federal government Monday announced more than $1.89 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program. According to an HHS press release , $813 million of that money will go directly to the ADAP programming. An additional $8,386,340 will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a litany of unmet needs and access issues.

Army Data Shows Constraints on Troop Increase Potential

If President Obama orders an additional 30,000 to 40,000 troops to Afghanistan, he will be deploying practically every available U.S. Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve in case of an unforeseen emergency and further stressing a force that has seen repeated combat deployments since 2002.

1. Brian Schweitzer

As governor of Montana, Schweitzer doesn’t represent one of the most highly populated, high-profile electoral states in the country. But this

$1.3 Million for Brown

The GOP’s candidate in the Massachusetts special election raised more than one million dollars -- double the goal -- in a 24-hour moneybomb on the Ron Paul

$1.3 trillion in federal spending unaccounted for, report finds

Despite calls for independent bodies to keep government accountable, the Sunlight Foundation’s most recent Clearspending report has found the federal

#1 in Conspiracy Theories

Andrew Young’s tell-all biography of John Edwards, hitting shelves next week, is surging in one Amazon.com category in particular. #1 in Conspiracy

1 Brigade and 1 Battalion

ISTANBUL – It’s 10 p.m. in the lowest level of the Istanbul airport. In 20 minutes I’ll be allowed to board my plane to Kabul, bringing me to the

$1 Million for Toomey

Pat Toomey, the former Club for Growth president and leading Republican candidate in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Senate race, has announced a $1 million haul in the

1. Lindsey Graham

Sen. Graham (R-S.C.) is typically regarded as a reliable vote for his party, but he took the bold step of breaking with his fellow Republicans to join Kerry

Bachmann uncomfortable over earmarks ban

Republicans appear to have boxed themselves into a corner with their portrayal of earmarks as wasteful spending, as many of them have backed a moratorium on

Troubled mine holds hope for U.S. rare earth industry

China currently controls 97 percent of the world’s rare earth production. The Mountain Pass Mine could change that -- if it can overcome serious environmental concerns.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com

Click here to check the ultimate guide to learn how to leverage your PC and internet to make money online.