Quote of the Day: "The problem isn't the abuse of power, it's the power to abuse." -- Michael Cloud
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is urging people to call the White House TODAY, and urge President Obama to veto any Patriot Act renewal that doesn't contain civil liberties protections.
We agree. This is a good opportunity to remind the President that he promised to reform the Patriot Act when he was a candidate.
But we need to maintain our pressure on Congress too . . .
* Tell Congress you want them to REPEAL the Patriot Act outright
* Any renewal must contain the strongest possible civil liberties provisions
The hardwired message says, "Repeal the Patriot Act. Do NOT renew any of its provisions."
You may borrow from or copy these additional comments . . .
If renewal appears inevitable, I urge you to do everything in your power to protect civil liberties.
As uncovered by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the FBI used the Patriot Act's "roving wiretaps" provision to listen in on the phone conversations of young children . . .for five days! https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/03/documents-obtained-eff-reveal-fbi-patriot-act
Can there possibly be a good reason for this? The FBI won't tell us. As the EFF also reports, when the FBI responds to Freedom of Information requests, it redacts crucial information.
Even when a member of Congress, such as former Sen. Russ Feingold finds out about FBI abuses, he feels compelled to reveal it to other members of Congress only in a classified setting. This is simply wrong. The FBI must be subservient to Congress, NOT the other way around.
And the FBI is able to launch investigations - called "assessments" - based on ZERO factual evidence. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/27/us/27fbi.html?_r=1
It appears to the common citizen that the FBI is acting like it did in 1950 and 1960's, when it wiretapped people like Martin Luther King.
But even more important that these FBI abuses of power, is the fact that the FBI has powers it can abuse. These powers are unconstitutional, and must be withdrawn. Barring that, they must be curtailed . . .
* Require that secret National Security Letters and Section 215 orders can only be used to obtain records linked to suspected spies and terrorists, not innocent Americans.
* Protect the free speech rights of people who receive these government demands
* Stop blank-check "John Doe" roving wiretaps - by requiring foreign intelligence investigators to identify their surveillance target
* Let the "lone wolf" wiretapping provision expire, because it unconstitutionally allows the government to spy on people inside the U.S. who have no link to any foreign organization.
Better yet, REPEAL the Patriot Act in its entirety!
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