We can't go around telling people we're a free country when either the government or the corporate world knows every damn thing about you - that's not really freedom ~ Bernie Sanders (dob 9/8/1941) the Junior Senator from Vermont and 2016 Presidential candidate on the 6/1/2015 airing of of Late Night With Seth Meyers explaining his NO vote on the USA Freedom Act.
America's Surveillance State is a six part investigative documentary series currently airing on Free Speech TV . During part 2 of the series, "Inside the NSA: How Do They Spy?" (which examines who is watching whom and why) retired CIA employee Ray McGovern says he became disillusioned and retired early.
According to McGovern the CIA conducted themselves "with respect to what they called the first commandment out there at Fort Meade, the NSA [which was] thou shalt not collect information [or] eavesdrop on Americans without a court warrant".
But McGovern says that changed after the election of gwb, "when Cheney came in he called [former Director of the NSA from March 1999 to April 2005]General Hayden and said "I know about that first commandment at the NSA. Forget about it". And that was before 9-11.
Then the interviewer asks, "so the decision for the NSA to begin collecting information on everyone and everything started with an order from above?", McGovern answers "oh sure, it was Dick Cheney and George Bush".
So this massive expansion of the surveillance state started before 9-11 and before passage of the Patriot Act. And it was so ordered (before 9-11) by bush and Cheney. Yes, Barack Obama has continued this unconstitutional (under the 4th amendment) collection of data, but that is hardly surprising, given that presidents rarely give up power. Not that this, in any way, excuses Obama, but still... I think it is noteworthy that it was bush and Cheney who began this unconstitutional data collection... and did so not in response to 9-11 (as many probably think).
Yet more proof that bush was one of America's absolutely worst and most lawless presidents!
The USA Freedom Act (legislation that modified the Patriot Act) supposedly puts an end to bulk data collection. However...
|...the USA Freedom Act... gives the government a six-month period to transition to the new system, under which telecommunications companies would hold onto the data, only handing information over if the government has a targeted warrant. (Thought bulk data collection was gone? Think again by Jeremy Diamond. CNN 6/2/2015).|
So the NSA will continue to bulk collect data for the next 6 months (so, to the end of 2015), and then the bulk data collection will continue... but be stored with the telecommunication companies and only handed over with a court order. But the data is still being bulk collected in violation of the 4th amendment. I mean, so what if it isn't the government directly that is collecting the data, but the telecoms at the direction of the government?
|The Patriot Act is now repackaged with a new name, The USA Freedom Act and unfortunately government's unwarranted and indefinite storage of private records and communications continues. The new spy law, as was its predecessor, remains an attack on the 4th Amendment. Unfortunately for big government advocates, collecting and storing data on its citizens is not cited or even alluded to in Article I, Section 8 where the powers of the federal government are itemized. ...|
Actually such activity is specifically forbidden in the 4th Amendment which reads: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized". The amendment was specifically designed to prevent government spying on its own.
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated" is the strongest possible language conceivable. ... Moreover, the new USA Freedom Act violates the 5th Amendment as well in that the accused is, in a very real sense, forced to be a witness against himself... (The USA Freedom Act is an attack on the 4th Amendment. From the website Before It's News 6/19/2015)
Wikipedia says that "Before It's News" was started by Jake Kettle, and that Kettle is "self identifies as a social democrat, advocating for a combination of direct democracy and socialism", but this particular article is categorized under "Opinion, Conservative" (BIN is "a community of individuals who report on what's going on around them, from all around the world which anyone can join").
But that this article is written from a Conservative/Libertarian viewpoint is obvious, given the insertion of an "enumerated powers" argument (in purple). The enumerated powers argument says what the government does is limited to the "list of items found in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution".
Although, being a Progressive Democrat, I reject that argument. As a Progressive I believe in an expansive interpretation of the General Welfare clause. An interpretation we are currently operating under and which the Supreme Court has upheld (DSB #6).
So, given that reality I think the reference to "Article I, Section 8" in the BIN article is not relevant. It is Conservative/Libertarian baloney that has no bearing on whether or not data can be bulk collected. One only need look to the 4th amendment for WHY the Patriot and USA Freedom acts both violate the Constitution .
Randal Paul, who voted NO on the USA Freedom Act, said "Congress may just be replacing one bulk collection program with another". This he is correct on, given that now it the telecoms bulk collecting our data (and storing the info if the government requests it).
Note that this would be one extremely rare instance when I would agree with Mr. Paul, although (my choice for our next president) Bernie Sanders also voted NO. (see final roll call here).
Hillary Clinton, the other major Democratic candidate for US president, tweeted her support, writing "Congress should move ahead now with the USA Freedom Act - a good step forward in ongoing efforts to protect our security & civil liberties".
Clinton voted for the initial Patriot Act during her time as a senator from New York in 2001 and again in 2006. Sanders voted against the Patriot Act as House member in 2001 and 2005, then again refused to back its re-authorization when he arrived in the Senate. (excerpted near-verbatim from here).
 View the entire documentary miniseries America's Surveillance State (2:45:14) here. To watch individual episodes, follow this link.
 The USA Freedom Act does not violate the 4th amendment says the editorial board of the Washington Post. They say that Randal Paul "is the one misstating constitutional law. [T]he phone records of law-abiding Americans are none of the government's business! his campaign Web site declares. Actually, the Supreme Court held 36 years ago that there is no constitutional right to privacy in phone records (as opposed to phone conversations). The court reasoned, realistically, that customers willingly convey numbers and times to the phone company each time they dial, knowing that the company retains the information for business purposes (excerpt from Rand Paul should stop stalling the USA Freedom Act. 6/1/2015).
Video Description: Bernie Sanders on the 6/1/2015 airing of Late Night with Seth Meyers (3:51).