About a year ago Donald Trump raised a small ruckus when he asserted (as always, by Tweet…) that the previous administration had surveilled him at Trump Tower. The pooh-pooh heads pooh-poohed the idea. Andrew Napolitano was temporarily canned over the issue from Legs News. Then, it turned out to be true.
I and others pointed out, at the time, that Trump was far from the only American suffering from a good, old-fashioned trampling of his Fourth Amendment rights. Now, as then, few care. (There are 16 of us, at the least.)
But, now, there is a slim chance that Congress could act to remove one of the illicit tools of domestic surveillance – Section 702 of the Fisa Amendments Act. It’s set to expire. God, please let it.
A yearslong debate over National Security Agency surveillance and protections for Americans’ privacy rights will reach a climactic moment on Thursday as the House of Representatives takes up legislation to extend a program of warrantless spying on internet and phone networks that traces back to the Sept. 11 attacks.
There is little doubt that Congress will extend an expiring statute, known as Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, that permits the government to collect without a warrant from American firms, like Google and AT&T, the emails and other communications of foreigners abroad — even when they are talking to Americans.
But it is far from clear whether Congress will impose significant new safeguards for Americans’ privacy. A bipartisan coalition of civil-liberties-minded lawmakers are trying to impose such changes, while the Trump administration, the intelligence community and House Republican leadership oppose them.
I predict that, regardless of what Congress does or does not do today, that warrantless spying and other illegalities will continually be visited upon the people. We’ve reached that point and there’s really no going back.
Still, as Cliven Bundy will tell you, a little legal victory is a nice thing. Let’s have one!
And that’s okay, too; no money and closed offices makes it harder to spy on us. Fox/YouTube.