Thursday, June 6, 2013

NYT: stunning 'use' of the Patriot Act in phone dragnet of 100 million Americans shows act should 'be sharply curtailed if not repealed'

From the today's sobering editorial in the New York Times, President Obama's Dragnet (which called Dianne Feinstein's excuses for FBI surveillance of phone calls "absurd"):
     The senior administration official quoted in The Times said the executive branch internally reviews surveillance programs to ensure that they “comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States and appropriately protect privacy and civil liberties.”
     That’s no longer good enough. Mr. Obama clearly had no intention of revealing this eavesdropping, just as he would not have acknowledged the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, had it not been reported in the press. Even then, it took him more than a year and a half to acknowledge the killing, and he is still keeping secret the protocol by which he makes such decisions.
The Times concluded that the Patriot Act "needs to be sharply curtailed if not repealed" after quoting to its readers Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who introduced the Patriot Act in 2001, on the FBI's abuse of his legislation: "Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and un-American."

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