Video: DoJ Official Blows Cover Off Patriot Act

The act that was passed roughly 6 weeks after 9/11, the Patriot Act,  has long been a controversial act.  Many, myself included, felt the act gave way too much power to law enforcement and was destined to be abused.  Unfortunately, it has been. In 2003, the Justice Department admitted to taking advantage of the Patriot Act to wire tap, surveil, investigate American citizens and to confiscate millions of dollars in alleged crime related assets of American Citizens. In 2005, FBI papers showed the FBI had conducted surveillance on U.S. citizens for as long as 18 months without the proper paperwork and oversight. In 2007, we found that the FBI had abused it’s powers under the Patriot Act more than 1,000 times. In 2008, we found the FBI tried to cover up it’s abuses of power in acquiring phone records of thousands of Americans between 2003 and 2005.  And today brings more revelations of abuses of power.  (See article below)

When the Patriot Act was passed those of us who protested it’s passage were assured that the act would not be used on American citizens. The Patriot Act was sold to the public as well as Congress as imperative for keeping our country safe from terrorist attacks.   Now we find that only three…yes THREE, out of 763 “sneak and peak” requests were actually involved in terrorism cases.

The FBI has illegally wiretapped American citizens, obtained emails after the warrant for same had expired, seized bank records without proper authorization and conducted improper physical searches…..in other words the FBI has proved that it cannot be trusted to use the powers within the Patriot Act in a legal and acceptable manner.

Is it any wonder that Senator Al Franken felt it necessary to read the 4th Amendment to David Kris, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s National Security Division?  For those who may not be familiar with the 4th Amendment, it reads as follows:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Al Franken Reads the 4th Amendment

That’s what we have lost….the right to be SECURE in our personal life.  The right to know our government can’t abuse it’s power with impunity.  It’s often been said that if you aren’t doing anything wrong then you shouldn’t be worried about the government snooping into emails and phone conversations, and yet those on the right who espoused that idea are now worried about a census taker gathering too much information they consider personal?  This is not a partisan issue and the Democrats who voted for the Patriot Act are just as guilty and deserving of shame and anger over it as the Republicans.  Only Senator Feingold stood against the passing the Patriot Act.

Why aren’t the people who abused the powers of the Patriot Act in jail?

DoJ Official Blows Cover Off PATRIOT Act

In the debate over the PATRIOT Act, the Bush White House insisted it needed the authority to search people’s homes without their permission or knowledge so that terrorists wouldn’t be tipped off that they’re under investigation.

Now that the authority is law, how has the Department of Justice used the new power? To go after drug dealers.

Only three of the 763 “sneak-and-peek” requests in fiscal year 2008 involved terrorism cases, according to a July 2009 report from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Sixty-five percent were drug cases.

[snip]

Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) quizzed Assistant Attorney General David Kris about the discrepancy at a hearing on the PATRIOT Act Wednesday. One might expect Kris to argue that there is a connection between drug trafficking and terrorism or that the administration is otherwise justified to use the authority by virtue of some other connection to terrorism.

[snip]

Feingold, the lone vote against the PATRIOT Act when it was first passed, is introducing an amendment to curb its reach. “I’m going to say it’s quite extraordinary to grant government agents the statutory authority to secretly break into Americans homes,” he said.  REST OF ARTICLE

Feingold Questions Department of Justice Official

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27 Responses to Video: DoJ Official Blows Cover Off Patriot Act

  1. Wizcon says:

    Go Sen Feingold! My favorite Sneator from my state! I am also watching our Rep. Paul Ryan (R)

    timesr Reply:

    Barbara Lee was the lone vote in the House against the PATRIOT Act. I admire anyone with that kind of courage.

    Sage Reply:

    I like Feingold a lot. I give him huge kudos for not caving to the pressure after 9/11 and voting for a bill that should never have been put to a vote.

    Wizcon Reply:

    He’s objecting to activities not allowed in the bill.

    Sage Reply:

    ??

  2. skyagunsta says:

    There is a whole world of tears in the whole world and throughout the ages in this phrase sage,
    “That’s what we have lost….the right to be SECURE in our personal life.” … and there should be a whole world of tears and protestation here in these times.

    I remember when shortly after 9/11 Bush was building his case for THE WAR ON TERROR terror terror terror and himself to label himself as THE WAR PRESIDENT that someone said, this should not be pursued as a war, it should be pursued as a law enforcement matter… Those were sage words which were quickly silenced by the push of emotionality Bush and Cheney seeded in this country.

    Was 9/11 their own fabricated Reichstag? Many believe it was and as a result their way to open the door for the Patriot Act and so many other atrocities committed by our country against its very citizens.

    Remember this variations of a poem attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group. :

    “First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist; Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

    And because I had to leave my country of birth just because of a very similar, first they came for my friends, then they wanted me situation … I know just how dangerous and how sad it is that these beautiful United States into which I came in 1960 has been derailed into what it is today.

    skyagunsta Reply:

    P.S. I forgot to insert this link above:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyZpOAyGq1Q&feature=related

    Sage Reply:

    I think the biggest erosion of our rights started with the war on drugs and the war on terror just added a new layer of rights lost. The war on drugs is an abject failure and should be scrapped. The war on terror should be fought within the bounds of the law as it stood before the Patriot Act. If those who are hunting down terrorists are above the law and become a source of terror to American citizens then they become no better than the hunted.

    skyagunsta Reply:

    Sage … do you remember any of the “Iran-Contra-Crack Cocaine Controversy?”

    In 1996 the San Jose Mercury published the following:

    “For the better part of a decade, a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerrilla army run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, a Mercury News investigation has found.

    This drug network opened the first pipeline between Colombia’s cocaine cartels and the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles, a city now known as the “crack” capital of the world. The cocaine that flooded in helped spark a crack explosion in urban America . . . and provided the cash and connections needed for L.A.’s gangs to buy automatic weapons.”

    It was Maxine Waters who brought this to the forefront of Congress
    and it was the NAACP which stated that,

    “We believe it is time for the government, the CIA, to come forward and accept responsibility for destroying human lives.”

    The point I am trying to make here is that, again, the Bushes are behind some of the most devatasting problems which have been created in this country; they don’t seem to care about anyone or anything just as long as their narcississtic egoes get what they want.

    Yes there was a war on drugs (perhaps there still is) but, who opened up the floodgates for drugs into this country and all the awful things that came/come with drugs?

    I do admit, I am not a Bush fan.

    Sage Reply:

    Yep. I remember.

  3. Wizcon says:

    The fear factor works when a sense of urgency is attached. Just read the headlines.

    Sage Reply:

    Yep. I find it interesting that now, when the Patriot Act is under great scrutiny and criticism again, we have a number of terror plots uncovered.

  4. Wizcon says:

    This is what I am talking about

    http://video.aol.co.uk/video-detail/the-return-of-mccarthyism/2564589615

    Sage Reply:

    What people failed to recognize is that it’s not illegal to be a communist in this country.

  5. AliSilver says:

    How about going to jail for not buying health insurance? IF that is true, that would have to be like the icing on the cake of our eroded rights!!!!!!!
    Anything that sounds like we need it,,, is just a cleverly veiled removal of more rights ! :(

    Sage Reply:

    I just went through the health care bill and there is no provision for anyone to go to jail that I can find. There is a tax (or penalty) based on income for not buying insurance. I think this is just the newest scare tactic.

  6. AliSilver says:

    Go find out what happens if you DONT PAY THE FINE !
    Remember that auto insurance is mandatory in most states now ! Maybe all states,,idk! If you don’t pay your insurance and get a ticket…..and don’t pay the ‘fine’ , you can go to jail for it. It’s the very same premise ! So if you cannot afford ins. , you get a 1900 fine,, which you cannot probably afford. If you cannot afford your 1900 fine, you “CAN” get up to a year in jail and 25k fine. Which would be pocket change ….. I hope this is wrong and false! O said during his campaign that he would NOT sign any bill that included any kind of a FINE for non payment of insurance, citing that a family unable to afford ins. could not afford a fine. We will see if he stands up to his DEMS who are pushing this. I hope he keeps his word.
    But I’m not expecting it!

    Sage Reply:

    Well, Ali, that’s what I’ve been trying to find out. I spent a long time going through the Health Care Reform Bill and I don’t find anything.

    You know, it’s really up to the person making the claim to prove the veracity of the claim and the claim that sec. 7203 (Which is a section of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986) is applicable to the Health Care Reform Bill needs to be established.

    The Health Care Reform Bill calls for a number of amendments to the IRC of 1986, but those amendments are not as yet reflected in the IRC of 1986. The Health Care Reform Bill refers to section 6050X, but that section as of right now is not in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. It appears that the Tax Code that will deal with Health Care related taxes has yet to be written into the tax code. Section 6050X of the IRC 1986 does not exist as of yet.

    ‘Part VIII. Health Care Related Taxes.’.

    (2) The table of sections for subpart B of part III of subchapter A of chapter 61 is amended by adding at the end the following new item:

    ‘Sec. 6050X. Returns relating to health insurance coverage.’.

    (2) PENALTY FOR FAILURE TO FILE-

    (A) RETURN- Subparagraph (B) of section 6724(d)(1) of such Code is amended by striking ‘or’ at the end of clause (xxii), by striking ‘and’ at the end of clause (xxiii) and inserting ‘or’, and by adding at the end the following new clause:

    ‘(xxiv) section 6050X (relating to returns relating to health insurance coverage), and’.

    (B) STATEMENT- Paragraph (2) of section 6724(d) of such Code is amended by striking ‘or’ at the end of subparagraph (EE), by striking the period at the end of subparagraph (FF) and inserting ‘, or’, and by inserting after subparagraph (FF) the following new subparagraph:

    ‘(GG) section 6050X

    ‘Part VIII. Health Care Related Taxes.’.

    (2) The table of sections for subpart B of part III of subchapter A of chapter 61 is amended by adding at the end the following new item:
    ‘Sec. 6050X. Returns relating to health insurance coverage.’.

    You can find the above sections in the bill here: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h3200/text

  7. AliSilver says:

    http://www.newstin.com/rel/us/en-010-018625010

    Barthold, told Sen Ensign in questioning that failure to pay the fine for no ins. woudl result ina fine and that part would be handled by the IRS as if a ‘tax’ were not paid.
    So this is how the irs and health bill are becoming intertwined.

    Sage Reply:

    There is going to be a new section in the Internal Revenue Code of 1986….it will be section 6050X. That section will deal with the tax issues on health insurance. That section does not exist as of yet in the on line texts of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 and I checked government websites. Either it has yet to be written and passed or it just hasn’t been updated on line. Which, I don’t know.

  8. AliSilver says:

    No the portion of going to jail is NOT within the bill, nor would the Barthold say it out loud during questioning in front of the panel !

  9. AliSilver says:

    I am actually hoping Sen Ensign will either confirm or deny what happened. I’ve yet to see what Ensign himself says about the incident.
    That’s why i used language like “IF” it is true. I want it so badly to not be true, I am holding out any hope that someone will prove it false ! :(

    Sage Reply:

    I’m not sure Ensign is the one to clear this up…..Barthold is the one claiming Section 7203 (I believe it was) is applicable to health Care Reform. I don’t know if it is or isn’t, I just know the Health Care Reform bill says that tax code Section 6050X is the section that will deal with health care reform tax issues. That section does not appear to exist yet.

    Let’s not forget that there are all kinds of exemptions to the requirement to purchase health insurance, including a religious exemption. Even if this is true, and that’s yet to be seen, it’s not like every poor person who can’t afford insurance is going to jail. There are exemptions, subsidies, etc.

    Desert Sage Reply:

    “Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor and could face up to a year in jail or a $25,000 penalty, Barthold wrote on JCT letterhead. He signed it ‘Sincerely, Thomas A. Barthold.’”

    http://www.politico.com/livepulse/0909/Ensign_receives_handwritten_confirmation_.html?showall

    Sage Reply:

    Yes, I know.

    What will Section 6050X say?

  10. kert says:

    Sage, could you clarify something for me? Are you saying you are opposed to delayed notification of search warrants? Because if you are, you might was well hang it up when it comes to law enforcement, b/c you will be throwing wire-taps right out the window. Delayed notification of search warrants existed before the Patriot Act, so I don’t see why you are upset about only 3 sneak and peaks being related to terrorism. Don’t forget – these are search warrants issued by courts and based on probable cause.

    And Al Franken is a freaking idiot. Period.

    Sage Reply:

    Section 213 of the USA Patriot Act,11 enacted on Oct. 26, 2001, contains the first express statutory authorization for the issuance of sneak and peek search warrants in American history.

    [snip]
    Nearly two decades ago a prescient federal judge, in a dissenting opinion, warned that sneak and peek search warrants “constitute … a dangerous and radical threat to civil rights and to the security of all our homes and persons.”16 Echoing this sentiment, a law review note published three years later emphasized that sneak and peek search warrants “bestow on law enforcement agents unlimited license to rifle through a person’s private residence without the owner’s knowledge or consent. There is no check on agents’ actions to ensure they comply”17 with protections for individual rights, and “the risk of abuse and the subsequent intrusion into privacy is … severe.”18

    Section 213 of the USA Patriot Act ushers in a new regime in America, a regime where the police learn at the police academy how to clandestinely burglarize the residences and offices of Americans and where the potential for police abuse is limitless. From now on Americans will be forced to live in “Orwellian fear that government agents may intrude at any time.”
    SOURCE

    While there were some “sneak and peek” warrants issued prior to the Patriot Act, they appear to have been few and far between. I don’t approve and I know for a fact law enforcement works quite well without “sneak and peek” warrants….it’s called investigating.

    As to why it upsets me that the “sneak and peek” was used mostly for drug investigations….. No. 1, I think most drugs should be legal and No. 2, the Patriot Act as sold to use as a means to fight terrorism, not the ill-advised drug war.
    Franken is not an idiot by any means.

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