Hit & Run

Jon Tester to Vote "No" on PATRIOT Act Renewal


Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) just announced on the Senate floor that he's going to vote against renewing the PATRIOT Act for four years unless Fourth Amendment-violating aspects of the law are changed. He called the act "bad policy that has put on us a very slippery slope," and unless its changed, said he'll vote against renewal "in the name of freedom and privacy."

Watch the rest of the Senate's Democrats defend the PATRIOT Act in all its glory on CSPAN.

Bonus: Sen. Arlen Specter just said he supports a "permanent extension" and the "permanent reauthorization" of the three most contested provisions of the act.  

Bonus II: Sen. Rand Paul: "If you don't protect the entire Bill of Rights, you're not going to have any of it." And a good reality-based line: "We have so much audio that they cannot even listen to it all…My point is that we're eavesdropping on so many people that we're missing stuff." 

Bonus III: I asked Julian Sanchez, who's done great investigative work on the PATRIOT Act both here and at Cato, what the odds are that the act won't be renewed. His response: "They'll let these provisions lapse right after they pass the Puppy Strangulation Act of 2011. Nobody wants to be accused of 'weakening' Patriot if another attack happens, even though there's little evidence added safeguards would seriously hamper intel gathering."

Reason on the PATRIOT Act: Heather Mac Donald and Julian Sanchez discuss government power in the War On Terror, and Julian Sanchez on "the notion that civil-libertarian concerns about the PATRIOT Act have been much ado about nothing" and why Congress should not renew the PATRIOT Act's "lone wolf" provision. Also: Dave Weigel in 2005 on how "standing up to the PATRIOT Act can be good politics."