Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fallacies of PATRIOT Act 'Compromises'

For Immediate Release

Friday, May 29, 2015 - 10:30am

Fallacies of PATRIOT Act 'Compromises'

WASHINGTON - The Washington Times reported earlier this week: “

Politico is reporting: “To meet the midnight Sunday deadline, McConnell will either have to cut a deal with Paul, who’s making demands that other lawmakers object to — or hope that senators, when confronted by a deadline that’s hours instead of days away, relent and agree to a temporary extension.”

 MARCY WHEELER, emptywheel at, @emptywheel
Wheeler writes widely about the legal aspects of the “war on terror” and its effects on civil liberties. She is the “
Right to Know” investigative journalist for ExposeFacts and blogs at

Wheeler will be taking part in Stand Up for Truth events next week, a series of events to support whistleblowing. She will be speaking with NSA whistleblower Bill Binney in Chicago. NSA whistleblower Wiebe, quoted below, will participate in a webcast. Pentagon Papers whistleblower Dan Ellsberg will be with a group of whistleblowers speaking in London, Oslo, Stockholm and Berlin. IPA is a co-organizer of these events. For a full schedule, see:

J. KIRK WIEBE, jkwiebe at, @KirkWiebe

Wiebe is a retired National Security Agency whistleblower who worked at the agency for 36 years. He said today: “The tragedy surrounding the current discussion of the USA Freedom Act lies in the fact that the government — including the legislative and executive branches of government, aided and abetted by an unchallenged FISA Court, is working in collusion to mislead the American public about the ability of the legislation to truly do what most Americans want — a constitutional process that a) actually catches bad guys, and b) respects and enforces privacy rights under the Fourth Amendment. Both are ‘do-able’ from a technology perspective and there is no balance — we can have both.   

“The truth is that USA Freedom does not cover all NSA authorities to collect information. As long as NSA enjoys collection authorities to do bulk collection under Executive Order 12333, together with no constraints on Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, the USA Freedom Act results in few net changes in the government’s ability to invade privacy as it deems necessary, bulk or otherwise. In short, the USA Freedom Act alone does fundamentally very little in terms of significantly constraining the ability of the National Security Agency to perform bulk collection of data about anyone, U.S. citizen or otherwise. We need comprehensive surveillance reform.

“There is one more important aspect of the discussion — USA Freedom does absolutely nothing to enhance legislative or judicial oversight over the executive branch’s use of NSA’s vast intelligence production apparatus. Lots of ‘trust,’ but no ‘verify,’ which is what created the current constitutional crisis beginning with the events of Sept. 11, 2001.”


A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.

Organization Links

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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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