June 1, 2015 is a very important day for American civil liberties and the Constitution. On that day, Section 215 of the Patriot Act, one of the most egregious pieces of legislation passed in U.S. history, will expire automatically without reauthorization from Congress. Naturally, this is causing a panic attack within the heart of the NSA, FBI and all the authoritarian lackey legislators in Washington D.C. With the chances of a clean reauthorization next to none, these crafty “representatives” and their puppeteers need to figure out a way to sneak it into another piece of legislation. What better way to do this than making it a part of something that ostensibly appears to be reining in surveillance powers. Enter the USA Freedom Act.
The USA Freedom Act is nothing new. A version of it passed the House last spring, before dying in the Senate. Rand Paul surprised many people by saying he would not support it because it didn’t go far enough. Additionally, one of its key cosponsors ultimately failed to support his own bill. I covered this in the post, Congress Guts Anti-NSA Spying Bill Beyond Recognition; Original Cosponsor Justin Amash Votes No….
Well the USA Freedom Act is back, and it appears to be the vehicle being used to reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act. This story is extremely important, and serves as a great example of how tricky it can be to know what’s actually going on. I spend nearly 100% of my time trying to stay informed about the world around me, yet I’m constantly surprised by how little I know. For people who don’t have the time or energy to try to stay informed, forget about it. The media is generally worthless, and will more often than not mislead you, even if it’s unintentional.
To prove my point, I will highlight two separate articles on the latest version of the USA Freedom Act. Let’s start with the National Journal article titled, Congress to Introduce Last-Ditch Bill to Reform NSA Spying. The caption underneath the main title states: “With the clock winding down, lawmakers in both chambers are staging one last attempt to rein in the government’s surveillance powers.” …