Sen. Mike Lee talks about alternative to Patriot Act

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Key portions of the Patriot Act expired at midnight on Monday, with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul using Senate rules to hold the bill for consideration until Wednesday.

U.S. Sen. Mike Lee said it didn't have to be this way.

"It didn't need to come to this. I think a better alternative would be to pass the USA FREEDOM Act, get it signed into law before this expiration," Lee said.

Lee and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont are sponsoring the act that now stands as the most likely compromise when the Senate can take up the debate again on Wednesday. The USA FREEDOM Act changes the most controversial aspect of the Patriot Act, a portion of section 215 allowing the NSA to collect what is called phone "metadata."

Metadata is the records of who called you and who you called. Under the Patriot Act, it allowed the government to collect that information on everyone so long as they only used it once they had cause.

Lee's alternative is to ask phone companies to hold on to such records so the government can seek it out when there is legal cause.

4 comments

  • bob

    Mike Lee doesn’t get it either.

    There should be absolutely NO surveillance of U.S. citizens AT ALL unless there is a warrant, based on probable cause, to target an INDIVIDUAL. No surveillance cameras, no drones, no tapping phone calls, no intercepting emails, no scrutinizing bank accounts……NOTHING. You should be, by law, invisible to the Federal government unless they can convince a judge they need to watch you, and demonstrate why.

    “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.”

    The usual excuse used by the government and its apologists is that the 4th Amendment doesn’t mention “cars”, or “phones”, or “emails”, etc.

    EVERYTHING is covered by the word, “effects.” Your right to privacy is absolute, and covers ALL of your belongings and your communications.

    It sickens me how easily Americans are willing to throw their freedom away for the illusion of “safety.” We put up with outrages all the time in airports, and just today the Federal government admitted that 96% of fake bombs and guns make it through TSA screenings in their own tests. We have given all, and received NOTHING in compensation. We are no safer than we were before the Patriot Act. What’s more, the government has (just as I predicted at the time) turned it against US. It has nothing to do with “terrorists.”

    • bob

      Step up, Sen. Lee, and join Rand Paul and the precious few of your colleagues who believe that freedom is worth ANY price. Even death.

      The Founding Fathers certainly believed that.

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