Anyone who has tuned into politics in the last 10 years has heard of the public Patriot Act that gives the government sweeping powers including some that violate the Constitution however a U.S. Senator has bravely revealed that the government has a classified act as well. This version of the Patriot Act isn’t available for the public eye nor is anything publicly known about its powers but Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) says it is worse than you’ve ever heard. Congress is set to reauthorize several provisions of the domestic spying law that are highly controversial. Wyden says that those provisions will be minuscule compared to the provisions being renewed for the classified Patriot Act.
Wyden, a member of the House Intelligence committee, can’t fully explain the secret law without violating national security laws but he gives Wired enough information to make us worry. The portion of the Patriot Act that gives the FBI and other alphabet soup agencies the power to seize records from businesses, medical offices, banks and anywhere else clearly has the Senator troubled.
Tuesday, Wyden and Sen. Mark Udall offered an amendment to the Patriot Act that says the U.S. Government has been secretly interpreting public laws and statutes differently. The amendment continues to urge the government, and the Attorney General, to publicly disclose how the government interprets the Patriot Act.
The government’s abuse of the business-records provisions has spiked according to the Justice Departments own testimony to Congress. The Justice Department testified that the government asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for approval to collect business records 96 times in 2010 which is a dramatic increase from the 21 requests in 2009. While the court didn’t deny a single request they did modify them 43 times, which signaled to Patriot Act watchers that an expansion of the provision is underway.
Sen. Udall says that the governments interpretation of the Patriot Act gives them access to your bulk private data like a cellphone company’s phone records. Sen. Udall made a recommendation Tuesday that seems like it should have been implemented 10 years ago when the counterterrorism act was passed. He urged Congress to restrict the governments’ use of the business-records provision to only terrorism investigations. Currently any agency can request records for any reason.
The Justice Departments top national security official, Todd Hinnen, testified to Congress that the business-record provision “also” enabled “important and highly sensitive intelligence-collection operations” to take place. This is what many experts believe gives the government access to your cellphones geolocation data so that the government can track and store your movements. Congress is set to vote on the Patriot Act provisions today.
It’s no surprise that the federal government is lying to us while playing Democracy to every other nation. We don’t have rights in this country anymore when it comes to opposing the government. We were stripped of those rights by the Bush administration when he introduced the Patriot Act. Even that massive abuse of the Constitution wasn’t enough for the government who now interprets it completely differently than what the actual law states. The frightening thing is Congress recently voted to extend the Patriot Act until 2015 with no additional oversight than what is already in place. FYI there is no oversight. The government is out of control and is working its way towards an oligarchy.Source: Wired