Rand Paul has been taking a stand against the Patriot Act, getting a lot of attention for his filibuster. Much of America is ready for an end to bulk surveillance, yet reforms to the Patriot Act seem to have a real struggle getting through our legislative bodies. In fact, a number of legislators seem determined to extend surveillance privileges rather than reducing or putting an end to them.
Paul’s filibuster was cheered by many who aren’t normally in his corner politically, and put a bit of a hold on passing an extension to the Patriot Act.
One agency that is in Rand’s corner on this issue, and spoke up to say so, is the ACLU.
“While technically Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-Ky.) stand against the NSA yesterday wasn’t a filibuster, any time a member of Congress talks for over ten hours without a bathroom break, it’s close enough in our book.”
In a post following Rand’s Patriot Act prevention act, the ACLU talked about the legislation itself, and what comes next in its (possible) demise.
The organization cited that almost two-thirds of Americans support either putting a complete end to the Patriot Act or reforming it, and went on to explain what can happen now. One option is that the USA Freedom Act could pass — this would still allow some provisions currently in the Patriot Act, while stalling others. The alternate action is to extend the Patriot Act itself.
If this fails, the ACLU warns, what happens instead is called “sunsetting” — this isn’t considered a good thing.
“With a sunset, Congress’ reform bill won’t just modify provisions of the Patriot Act. It would resurrect pieces of the Patriot Act (i.e. parts of Section 215) that have died. Section 215 is the provision of the law that has been used illegally to collect call records of everyone in America, thousands of financial records, and other electronic records.”
As much as most citizens don’t want that, most members of Congress don’t, either. However, there’s what the ACLU calls a giant game of chicken going on, with neither side willing to give.
A recent report from Counter Current News, citing that a Federal report showed no cases solved or crimes prevented through use of the Patriot Act’s spying powers, has only served to increase the opposition to the legislation.
Much of America is ready to see an end to the Patriot Act’s surveillance powers, and it only remains to be seen: will Congress let it happen?