US Senate Rejects Amendment to Prohibit Warrantless Online Spying

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US Senate Rejects Amendment to Prohibit Warrantless Online Spying

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

Six weeks after the 9/11 mother of all state-sponsored false flags, the USA Patriot Act became the law of the land.

Written months in advance, put on the shelf, it was ready to be introduced and enacted straightaway.

Capitalizing on a window of hysteria, it granted the executive branch unchecked police state powers — on the phony pretext of combatting terrorism that was and remains state-sponsored.

The enemy is us, ruling authorities in Washington at war on humanity at home and abroad.

Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Nancy Chang denounced the measure when enacted, saying “(t)here’s nothing patriotic about trampling on the Bill of Rights.”

The measure breaches the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and 14th Bill of Rights Amendments to the Constitution.

The US Senate passed the law with no discussion, debate, or hearings by a 98 – 1 vote, Russ Feingold the only profile of courage against the measure.

With no floor debate or consultation with rank-and-file members, the House passed a virtual carbon copy of the Senate measure by a 357 – 66 majority, no amendments permitted — no time for congressional members to read the 342-page bill.

It includes a virtual wish list of mass surveillance powers. In 2009, the ACLU called on Congress to “reconsider the Patriot Act,” saying:

It “eroded our most basic right — the freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into our private lives — and thwarted constitutional checks and balances.”

Warrantless Big Brother mass surveillance is the law of the land.

On Wednesday, the Senate rejected an amendment to protect online searches and browsing of Americans from secret warrantless searches by a single vote.

Needing 60 votes to pass, it got 59 for adoption, 37 against, four senators not voting for Amendment 1583 to HR 6172 (USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020) — including Bernie Sanders.

The amendment’s stated purpose was “(t)o remove internet website browsing information and search history from the scope of authority to access certain business records for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations.”

Reportedly Senators Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray supported the amendment, but couldn’t vote.

Alexander was under COVID-19 related quarantine. Murray was not in Washington on Wednesday.

Instead of prohibiting warrantless searches and other secretive FISA court constitutional abuses, the Senate OK’d them on Wednesday to remain a police state law of the land.

Amendment 1583 called for establishing probable cause suspicion of a crime to access records of an individual. It required a court authorized warrant.

In response to the measure’s defeat, Wyden said US authorities can search “the web browsing history of any American—including journalists, politicians, and political rivals—without a warrant, just by saying it is relevant to an investigation.”

Separately he tweeted: (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell is forcing a Senate vote on his amendment to give (AG) Bill Barr warrantless access to Americans’ browsing history. I’ve heard a lot of bad ideas in my lifetime, but this is one of the worst.”

“McConnell is increasing Barr’s oversight of surveillance on political candidates while expanding surveillance authorities on every other American.”

Demand Progress activist Sean Vitka slammed McConnell for “trying to take a privacy safeguard designed for the press and religious groups and instead give it only to politicians…”

“He’s also trying to sneak warrantless surveillance of internet and search histories into an amendment that claims to prohibit it,” adding:

He’s “mak(ing) a Patriot Act reauthorization even worse, after a process that has so far successfully prevented any member of Congress from fixing the underlying bill.” 

In March, three sections of the Patriot Act expired, notably Section 215 that permits warrantless FBI searches of anyone.

McConnell and likeminded congressional hardliners want expanded mass surveillance, nothing enacted into law that limits it.

In March, the Dem-controlled House passed the USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act of 2020, its police state provisions effective through December 1, 2023.

Before adjourning to shelter in place, the Senate failed to take up the measure, what’s now being considered — a vote scheduled for Thursday.

It’s certain to be the law of the land. A joint ACLU/ FreedomWorks statement slammed the measure, saying:

“Over the last several years, it has become abundantly clear that many of our surveillance laws are broken.” 

“The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is not equipped to protect Americans’ rights – with an Inspector General report finding a litany of errors in the government’s applications to the court to (conduct unrestrained) surveil(lance).” 

“(A)buses…predictably follow from giving the government extraordinary powers with minimal checks and no meaningful due process.”

“At the same time, Section 215, which is one of the Patriot Act provisions set to expire on March 15 has been used to engage in large-scale collection of Americans’ information, and the call detail record program operated under the authority has been suspended following compliance violations that resulted in unlawful collection of information.”

“Despite this record, disappointingly, the reforms contained in HR 6172 are minimal – in many cases merely representing a codification of the status quo.”

The police state measure will remain the law of the land following certain adoption by the Senate — including unrestrained/warrantless online searches of anyone.

VISIT MY WEBSITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

My two Wall Street books are timely reading:

“How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion, and Class War”

HOW WALL STREET FLEECES AMERICA Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War

 

“Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity”

BANKER OCCUPATION: Waging Financial War on Humanity

Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.