Skip to main content

Bernie:


much gratitude to joanneleon for the full text transcribed below

Madame President I just wanted to say a few words on an issue that is of deep concern to many Americans. In 2001, 2006 and in 2011 I voted against the USA Patriot Act I voted against that legislation because I believe that in a democratic and constitutional form of government that we can effectively combat terrorism without sacrificing the civil liberties and the constitutional protections which make us a free country.

The President has said that he welcomes a debate on this issue, and I agree with him. There should be a debate and the debate should center on whether the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution is still relevant. If it is, let's abide by it. If it isn't, let us not be hypocrites and let us acknowledge that we live in a society, in a nation in which our freedom and liberty have been severely compromised.

But let us not pretend that the protections that the Fourth Amendment guarantees exist when in fact they do not exist.

Here is what the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution states, and I quote:


"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 warrant 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."
End of quote. That is the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Now let us talk about what we learned in the last week about the National Security Agency's activities.

We learned that it is likely that virtually every phone call made by every American is being collected and stored by the United States government. The time that you made that phone call, where you made that phone call, how long you were on the phone and to whom you made that phone call is now part of the record of the United States government.

Every husband calling a wife, every businessman making a deal, every elected official talking to a constituent, every candidate talking to a campaign manager, every doctor talking to a patient, every lawyer talking to a client, every journalist tracking a story. All of that information and more is now on file with the United States government.

What is even more alarming is that it is not just the government officials who have access to that information. It turns out that it is private contractors like Booz Allen, and I assume many other contractors.

A few weeks ago, Madame President, you'll recall that there was a huge uproar in the media, including front page stories, that the Obama administration was tracking phone calls made by the reporters from the Associated Press. Big deal. Everybody was really concerned about that. While not listening to the calls, they learned who the reporters were speaking to, how long they were speaking, and where the reporters were located.

Well, guess what? It turns out that what the Obama administration was doing to the AP is nothing unusual. This appears to be exactly what the government has the capability to do for every single American. Furthermore we have also learned that the government has the capability to monitor every web site that we visit, every video that we see and every item that we search for online.

Madame President, everyone understands that terrorism is a serious issue and that the United States government and governments around the world must do everything that we can to protect our people. We do not want another 9/11, we do not want another bombing like the Boston Marathon. We do, however, want our government, intelligence agencies, law enforcement authorities to be strong and effective in combating terrorism. But Madame President, it is my very strong opinion, that we can do that without living in an Orwellian world where the government and private corporations know every telephone call that we make, every web site that we visit, every place that we go.

Is that really the country that we want to be? And let us be clear. The technology for monitoring every aspect of our lives will only increase in years to come as our technology becomes every more sophisticated.

Madame President, our position to the NSA policy is coming from across the political spectrum. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, a conservative Republican from Wisconsin, and one of the authors of the original PATRIOT Act, said in a Thursday letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, that he is "extremely troubled" by the National Security Agency's seizure of the phone records of millions of Verizon customers through a secret court ruling, He also said, and I quote:

"I do not believe the released FISA order is consistent with the requirements of the PATRIOT Act. How could the phone records of so many innocent Americans be relevant to an authorized investigation that is required by the Act? Seizing phone records of millions of innocent people is excessive and unAmerican."

Is what Republican Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner said  in a press release that accompanied his letter to the Attorney General.

Madame President, it is clear to me that the United States Congress has got to take a very hard look at the USA PATRIOT Act, and specifically at Section 215.

Bottom line is, we must be strong and effective in combating terrorism, but it is absolutely my view that we can do that without undermining the constitutional rights that make us a free country. And with that, Madame President, I would yield the floor.

Bernie Sanders, June 11, 2013  [bolds mine ~LL]

In my Bernie feed, he also suggests we consider this article and the questions posed here:
   ~ Are the two programs revealed by Snowden legal and constitutional?

    ~ What else is the government doing to invade our privacy? Until a few days ago, paranoids were people who claimed Washington had cast a vast electronic net over our communications. Who isn't a bit paranoid now?

    ~ Why did the U.S. government for years debunk what they called a myth about the National Security Agency seizing electronic data from millions of Americans?

    ~ Why did the leader of the U.S. intelligence community mislead Congress in March by answering a question about the program in the "least untruthful manner" -- a phrase that would make George Orwell cringe.

    ~ Why do Democratic lawmakers who criticized President Bush for exploiting the post-9/11 Patriot Act now defend President Obama for curbing civil liberties?

    ~ Why do Republicans who defended Bush now chastise Obama for ruthlessly fighting terrorists?

    ~ Rather than fierce oversight, why did the White House and congressional leaders restrict full knowledge of the programs to a few elites, and stage, for the rest of Congress, Potemkin briefings?

    ~ Why does a secret federal court almost always side with the government's requests to seize information?

    ~ Why didn't the president find a way before the leaks to tell the public in general terms what he was doing and why? Obama ran on a pledge of government transparency, opposed Bush-era surveillance tactics, and denounced the "false choice" between security and liberty.

It's all well and good to have this debate, either here on the Great Orange and out there in face to face conversations or in pixellated social media, but I prefer we not waste time/energy with erroneous or irrelevant sidetracks. Meanwhile, the biggest question facing us, in my opinion is: what are we gonna do about it?

For starters, see this Action Guide.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site