The legal authority for U.S. spy agencies' collection of Americans' phone records and other data was set to expire at midnight on Sunday after the U.S. Senate failed to pass legislation extending the controversial powers.
After debate pitting Americans' distrust of intrusive government against fears of terrorist attacks, the Senate voted to move ahead with reform legislation that would replace the bulk phone records program revealed two years ago by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.
But final Senate passage of the bill was delayed until at least Tuesday morning by objections from Senator Rand Paul, a libertarian Republican presidential hopeful who has fulminated against the NSA program as illegal and unconstitutional. As a result, the government's collection and search of phone records was set to terminate at midnight (0400 GMT on Monday) when provisions of a post-Sept. 11, 2001, law known as the USA Patriot Act expire. (Reuters)
Well, Rand Paul did all he could short of whipping out a roscoe and lighting up the joint. Section 215 will expire tonight and will probably be replaced by the USA Freedom Act later this week. Rand realizes both this and the probability of getting some amendments passed to tighten up the Act is slim to none. He made some good speeches (and some political points). I’m hoping he further galvanized the political and public opposition to unwarranted government surveillance. Maybe it will become more of an issue between now and November 2016.
The Administration, including Obama in his weekly address, and every surveillance hawk in the country have been stirring up the fear all week. According to them we can expect the 3rd Osama Bin Laden Shock Army to roll across our amber waving plains in a few hours and, because the NSA and FBI can’t collect bulk metadata , we are defenseless to stop them. They all disgust me.
This ain’t over. I can hear the strains of “The Rising of the Moon” in the distance.
Death to every foe and traitor, forward strike the marching tune
And hurrah, me boys, for freedom, 'tis the rising of the moon