As in the song "Lawyers In Love" we have a land, a nation with too many in high places willing to do anything for money neglecting people, honor and principle but a change is coming. No more falling for the lie of living only individualistic and independent lives leaving us divided and conquerable by powerful special interests but a people, a nation collaborating for the greater common good in various groups all across the nation. A land of people working together to help one another with a vision moreover as Jesus would have us be. Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Kindness....something about another Land. The change is coming

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Co-Author Of Patriot Act Submits Freedom Act To Curtail NSA Spying

Patriot Act author Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy , D-Vt., introduced the USA Freedom Act on Tuesday with the help of some co-sponsors previously opposed to the bill's goal of ending the bulk data collection by the National Security Agency.

The Freedom Act would end the NSA's bulk collection of Americans' communications records by amending Section 215 of the Patriot Act, making numerous amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and creating a privacy advocate to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, who could argue civil liberties concerns and appeal court decisions. The full text of the bill is available online.

Sensenbrenner was the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee when the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, occurred, and was one of the original authors of the Patriot Act. In a statement on Monday introducing the Freedom Act, Sensenbrenner said the surveillance powers granted to intelligence agencies in the Patriot Act have kept Americans safe "but somewhere along the way, the balance between security and privacy was lost."
"It's now time for the judiciary committees to again come together in a bipartisan fashion to ensure the law is properly interpreted, past abuses are not repeated and American liberties are protected," Sensenbrenner said. "Washington must regain Americans' trust in their government."

Since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden began disclosing government phone and email surveillance practices in June, members of congress have introduced a stack of proposals calling for increased transparency and oversight of the agency. In a statement on Monday Leahy said "modest transparency and oversight provisions are not enough."

"The government surveillance programs conducted under the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act are far broader than the American people previously understood," Leahy said. "It is time for serious and meaningful reforms so we can restore confidence in our intelligence community,"

The highly anticipated bill to end the NSA's dragnet collection of phone records, and increase oversight, transparency, and accountability on domestic surveillance, is poised to set off another showdown in Congress between privacy rights and the national security needs of data surveillance. The House defeated by 12 votes a proposed amendment to the defense appropriations bill in July that would have restricted the NSA's collection of phone records and metadata, known as the Amash amendment because it was introduced by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich.

The co-sponsors of the House version of the Freedom Act include eight members who voted against that Amash amendment, and two of the 12 members who did not vote on that amendment, which could increase the chances of a vote in the House to end bulk data collection.

To protect Americans from broad surveillance the new bill proposes FISA amendments including changes to section 702 of the act to restrict intelligence gathering to data directly relevant to terrorism investigations. The bill would also require the government to disclose FISC decisions that contain a significant construction or interpretation of the law. It would also increase the ability of Internet and telecom companies to disclose information about government requests.

Advocacy groups which support the USA Freedom Act include the American Civil Liberties Union. The Freedom Act is "far superior" in addressing civil liberties compared with the bill that Feinstein is expected to introduce, according to a statement from Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel for the ACLU.
"Although the USA Freedom Act does not fix every problem with the government's surveillance authorities and programs, it is an important first step and it deserves broad support," Richardson said.

-Tom Risen, US News and World Report

My take on this: There are some scary provisions in the Patriot Act that give the president and the military powers they should not have under peace time conditions. Those provisions need to be addressed and as of now I'am not sure how well they are addressed with this bill but I can tell you this; I'am not, as an American citizen, going to stand for a perpetual "war on terror'.
This bill is less than some may have hoped for but it does curtail significant sections of the Patriot Act and if it ends the mass(bulk) surveillance of Americans it is a worthy step in the right direction but here is the catch; it cannot be diluted. We must all watch closely those that would try to water it down and the arguments they will use and we must oppose those efforts every step of the way. It should also be noted that the alternative bill offered up by Sen. Diane Feinstein is milquetoast and makes little or no real changes in the Patriot Act.
This is by no means the end of the road. Our authorities foolish temptation to expand domestic drone use into the U.S. must also be on the agenda. Dissent was quashed in Iraq because of the totalitarian efficiency of drones. How efficient are they? Remember the seemingly never-ending battle against insurgents around Baghdad? The prime reason we finally gained control of Iraq was because the technology employed in these new drones could listen in on the slightest bit of language coming from various Iraqi homes or holdouts where terrorists were making plans. When the subversive talk was confirmed the drones eliminated that house or hiding place. These drones hovered at high altitudes, silent and undetectable by anyone on the ground. Think about the pros and cons of that using a little wisdom and foresight and tell me you want that here. Tell me you even want to open the door to it. Didn't think so. - Click your state and there you go.

Sincerely pray that the Freedom Act will address the foolish lack of wisdom and foresight in the Patriot Act as it is now and that congressmen will advocate for keeping fear of terrorism under our feet.

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