McConnell Warned About Patriot Act Reauthorization By Libertarian Groups

No surveillance reform means giving the executive unchecked powers we should know it will abuse.


One never knows how seriously big-deal Republican politicos take the libertarian-leaning sides of its coalition—never seriously enough, from my perspective. But keeping the pressure on in any way possible and keeping your voice in that D.C. game is important. The Hill reports today on a set of often libertarian-associated groups warning Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to not reauthorize the Patriot Act without surveillance reform.

What's at stake: 

"Today's domestic surveillance programs are just the tip of the iceberg compared to how the NSA could use its current authority to spy on Americans' communications on the Internet and future technologies we haven't even imagined," the group wrote in the letter to McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). 

The letter was signed by 13 groups, including TechFreedom, R Street Institute, FreedomWorks and the Competitive Enterprise Institute….

The letter advised the Senate "not to renew the expiring Patriot provisions, especially Section 215, without significant reform." They argued the domestic surveillance program violates constitutional values, has proven costly and unnecessary, and hurts U.S. technology business abroad. 

The provisions expire on June 1, and McConnell used a procedural rule that would allow the bill to bypass committee review.

Not just libertarians, but our brothers and sisters in similar-sounding names, librarians, are also warning McConnell not to let the Patriot Act continue on its current path unchecked, as J.D. Tuccille wrote here last week.

Many, many Reason clips on the Patriot Act's Sect. 215.

The old movement conservative types at Richard Viguerie's Conservative HQ have been peeved at McConnell for not obstructing Loretta Lynch's ascension to attorney general, and in fact voting for it:

Not only did the usual jelly-backed Senate Republicans vote to confirm Lynch, they were led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose job is, ostensibly, to be the leader of the conservative opposition to Obama and his lawless progressive agenda.

In moving the Lynch nomination McConnell broke a pre-election promise that no attorney general nominee would be considered in his Senate if that nominee supported Obama's executive amnesty, something that Lynch testified she supports.

So McConnell's vote for Lynch was a sort of "go to hell" moment that conservatives should recognize for what it is: Mitch McConnell saying directly to the conservative Republican grassroots and the conservative movement that opposed Lynch that, despite the fact that conservative voters handed back the Senate majority to the Republican Party in 2014 to make him Senate Majority Leader, he not only doesn't care what they think, he will go out of his way to disrespect them and confound their policy goals.