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from – House Fails to Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers | Threat Level | Wired.com
The three expiring Patriot Act provisions are:
• The “roving wiretap” provision allows the FBI to obtain wiretaps from a secret intelligence court, known as the FISA court, without identifying what method of communication is to be tapped.
• The “lone wolf” measure allows FISA court warrants for the electronic monitoring of a person for whatever reason — even without showing that the suspect is an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist. The government has said it has never invoked that provision, but the Obama administration said it wanted to retain the authority to do so.
• The “business records” provision allows FISA court warrants for any type of record, from banking to library to medical, without the government having to declare that the information sought is connected to a terrorism or espionage investigation.
My Note –
We’ve had these in place since 2001 / 2002 – and they didn’t stop the Fort Hood shooting, the recent shooting Loughner did, but in the meantime, the government for ten years has certainly used these provisions when they wanted.
I’m glad that it has not received the votes, but there are other choices that the House and Senate will be voting on to replace these provisions. Not to be a thing of panic, there are a multitude of cases in which the government has over the last thirty plus years, used its powers to spy on people with or without the Patriot Act and its provisions.
During the Nixon years, there was quite a to do about it, and yet, it didn’t necessarily stop there as a result. As an example, finding out what I’ve read at the library probably isn’t going to indicate what stupid choices I might make today – I would guess the same thing is true for other people.
And, most unfortunately, when a bomb was placed in a car on Times’ Square – it wasn’t any of the things in the Patriot Act’s spying tools that were allowed to be used against Americans, that made a difference at all – it was the awareness of the immediate surroundings by an individual who noticed it and called about it. Nothing stopped it from being done in the first place, as we would have hoped.
There is no telling what the next version of those provisions will be, once the House and Senate have finished mucking about with it. The chances are, it could be worse than the Patriot Act was in the first place because of the contests of will that are going on in the Legislature right now. It is hard to tell which is worse, when they work together to trade off with one another whatever is best for us in order to “make a deal” and thereby selling us all down the river, or when the two sides in our political arena square off against one another and play war while making sure neither side can win, consequently costing all of us, both immediately and down the road.