Patriot Act

Patriot Act Gets New Lease on Life From McConnell Bill

Proposed measure reauthorizes the controversial law until 2020, parts of which otherwise expire June 1


U.S. Government

Efforts to reform the security state-fueling PATRIOT Act have had a hard go of it. Last year's tepid FREEDOM Act drew mixed reactions from privacy advocates, many of whom considered it better than nothing, but not much more. Ultimately, it failed after pro-liberty lawmakers split over whether it actually represented reform or new life for PATRIOT Act provisions—Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) voted for it, while Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) voted against, both citing opposition to intrusive surveillance as their rationale. But maybe that was the best we were going to get, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell proposes to renew the whole thing until 2020.

Sen. McConnell's legislation "to extend authority relating to roving surveillance, access to business records, and individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978…" isn't yet formally on the Senate calendar, but that shouldn't be too much of an obstacle for McConnell. He intends to "bypass the traditional committee process," according to Dustin Volz at National Journal.

McConnell is a long-time fan of the surveillance state.

McConnell's bill comes just days before lawmakers are set to consider yet another legislative effort to rein-in the PATRIOT Act, parts of which expire on June 1, including Section 215 which authorizes mass NSA surveillance of communications, unless reauthorized.

Actually, never mind the FREEDOM Act. Under the circumstances, maybe just letting those sections expire is the best tactic available to civil liberties advocates.

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  1. It’s the only reason the terrorists haven’t overrun us. We can never let our guard down.

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  2. He intends to “bypass the traditional committee process,”

    He learned it from you, Harry.

    1. I doubt Reid is complaining in this instance.

  3. Do you know what would be nice? It would be nice if McConnell had one of those strokes that leaves him totally paralyzed and incapable of communicating but in continual agonizing pain. And the pain wouldn’t be treated because no-one knows he’s in pain and they’re worried about the DEA. And he’s trapped in that useless body eternally, unable to scream.

    That would be nice.

    1. Some say I have no heart. Others say I have one but that it is cold as ice.

      In truth, I have a heart and it is warm. The vision of what you just described, Old Man, warmed it.

      1. We could even play Metallica’s “One” on an endless loop at his bedside. It would be a nice reminder of his condition.

    2. That brought a tear to my eye.

      As an alternative, I’d be in favor of The Boats (first brought to my attention by someone here, of course).

  4. Thanks for the pic, 2chilly. I reflex-punched the screen when that cowpie in a suit appeared.

  5. NSA just wants to know who makes the best stew. And then send them to Gitmo.

  6. The important thing isn’t whether Mitch McConnell supports an extension.

    It doesn’t even matter if Congress actually passes an extension of the Patriot Act.

    The important thing is that it’ll have to get past the desk of Barack Obama.

    And since we all know that Obama is all about protecting our civil rights, there’s no way he’ll sign an extension of the Patriot Act!

    1. Third time’s a charm!

    2. And since we all know that Obama is all about protecting our civil rights, there’s no way he’ll sign an extension of the Patriot Act!

      The outcome is so obvious, it’s like we were looking at the most transparent administration in history!

    3. He’s already done so three times since he took office. He always pontificates the need to abolish it, but, always extends it anyway. Seeing that the draft was written by Joe Biden in 1995 for Bill Clinton, it makes sense.

  7. We were using this tool, but somehow it got grafted onto our hands, and now we can never let go of it.

  8. The new version of the bill is expected … to add a new consultative panel to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and give technology companies additional ways to disclose what information they are forced to hand over to the government.

    Why would anyone consider such modifications to be “reining in”?

    1. “… ‘reining in’ …”

      I heard that someone mentioned the weather in Washington State, Rich, and the congresspersons’ addled minds superimposed that image into the legislation they were reading at the time.

    2. Additional ways = Talk to the hand

    3. ‘Reining In Blood’ is my favorite Slayer album

  9. To Senator McConnell,

    Fuck off, slaver

    Quite sincerely,

    1. I second that.

    2. I third that.

      1. Fourth, with the addition of:

        Fuck that Slaver with a rusty chainsaw.

    3. What’s with this new variation on your handle?

      1. The damned B??gg took 20+ minutes to burn and explode at Sechsel?uten. Suggests a pretty Meh summer in Switzerland….so I am cursing it as lazy/worthless.

        click my handle for a related article (the fourth picture down is for jesse!).

    4. P.S. – Fuck You, Cut Spending.

  10. Our freedoms almost snuck back in… Denied, bitches!

  11. I would like Senator McConnell and McCain and Schumer all to do their part and sign up to be ‘first boots on the ground’ up against ISIS.

    If they were captured, I am sure the ISIS video would be entertaining.

  12. In simple, straight forward English, scrap this Patriot Act,

  13. Signing the Patriot Act was a criminal act, as far as I’m concerned and to continue this nonsense is just more criminal activity.

  14. What makes governments dangerous? Power.
    What does government surveillance do? Increases government power.

    I would rather worry about an occasional terrorist attack than the constant ubiquitous surveillance by our government.

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