Bernie Sanders Strikes a Blow for Privacy With New Bill To Limit the Patriot Act

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Sen. Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation that would put strict limits on the domestic surveillance powers of the FBI and NSA.

In a statement, Sen. Sanders said, “We must give our intelligence and law enforcement agencies all of the tools that they need to combat terrorism but we must do so in a way that protects our freedom and respects the Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches.”

The legislation puts limits on what records can be search, and requires agencies to have reasonable suspicion based on specific information in order to obtain a warrant. There would be no more data mining through open ended court orders, and agencies would have to have reasonable suspicion to justify searches for each record or document. The bill would increase congressional oversight, and eliminate the presumption that anyone who is known to a suspect is relevant to an investigation.

Sen. Sanders is proposing a return to sanity. There is absolutely no justifiable reason for the open ended surveillance powers in the Patriot Act. It has been 12 years since 9/11. It is time to look past the hysteria that allowed a horribly flawed piece of legislation to be passed, renewed, and renewed again.

Bernie Sanders is doing something that his critics on the right are too afraid to do. He is challenging the status quo. Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden have let this story devolve into an agenda driven circus. The reason why I have been critical of the motives of both of these men is because Sen. Sanders’ legislation was exactly what I wanted to see. Glenn Greenwald is moving back to the fringe where he belongs, and I don’t care if Snowden is hiding out on the moon. The real issue here has always been the Patriot Act.

Greenwald over hyped his story, and completely missed the real value of what he was reporting. What the NSA is doing isn’t a scandal. It isn’t proof that Obama is the root of all evil. It is a great opportunity to demonstrate what the Patriot Act continues to do to our liberties.

Congress is full of national security cowards. Sen. Sanders is serving with people who recently voted to protect rapists in the military, because they didn’t want to take sexual assault investigation out of the chain of command. This legislation has zero chance of ever being passed, but this could be the most significant legislative effort to limit the Patriot Act that the country has ever seen.

The con men, the media whores, and the wanna be martyrs will continue to spin this and stumble down the wrong path. Real change will have to come from Congress, and Bernie Sanders took the first important step towards victory in the battle to restore our liberties.

(Edit: forgot to include the link to legislation. You can read the bill here in PDF.)

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