TwitterFacebook

On the RNC Platform Finding NSA Programs Unconstitutional

Hypocrisy and political pandering in action.
Politics • Views: 17,235

The Republican National Committee is claiming that the USA Patriot Act’s NSA provisions are now unconstitutional?

Really?

And they want investigations too?

A page-long resolution also called for “a special committee to investigate, report, and reveal to the public the extent of this domestic spying.” This committee would then make suggestions for reform beyond what President Barack Obama suggested a week ago. The committee also wants to “hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.”

The full text of the resolution is here.

It would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetically politically motivated.

Back in 2001, Congress overwhelmingly approved the Patriot Act:

senate.gov (passed US Senate 98-1, the one person being Russ Feingold).

clerk.house.gov (211 GOPers approved, versus 3 opposed, including Ron Paul; 145 Democrats approved versus 66 opposed).

Read carefully through the names of those who approved the Patriot Act. There are a whole lot of familiar names. Both Darrell Issa and John Boehner voted for the Act.

But if that isn’t enough, let’s look more recently at the 2011 extension of the Patriot Act. It passed 250-153 with 28 no votes. Once again, Issa voted for. Even Louie Gohmert voted for this.

By investigations, I guess that means Darrell Issa will have to investigate himself.

Back in 2001, every GOP senator voted for this; some of them are still in the US Senate today. Did any of them misunderstand the Act? Did every one of the 211 GOPers who voted for it in the House misunderstand the Act and ignore the constitutionality? Some of them are still in Congress today too.

Did any of these same people then suddenly find that the law was unconstitutional in 2011 when they reauthorized the provisions of the Patriot Act (Pub.L. 112-14), knowing full well that there were provisions that might collect data on the US, inadvertently or on purpose? The answer, of course, is no; they approved the legislation and reauthorized the law enabling the NSA to continue gathering data.

Back in 2006, the media revealed that the NSA amassed a massive database of calls, which they said was targeted on international calls, but that too had caveats.

Sources, however, say that is not the case. With access to records of billions of domestic calls, the NSA has gained a secret window into the communications habits of millions of Americans. Customers’ names, street addresses and other personal information are not being handed over as part of NSA’s domestic program, the sources said. But the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information.

Don Weber, a senior spokesman for the NSA, declined to discuss the agency’s operations. “Given the nature of the work we do, it would be irresponsible to comment on actual or alleged operational issues; therefore, we have no information to provide,” he said. “However, it is important to note that NSA takes its legal responsibilities seriously and operates within the law.”

The White House would not discuss the domestic call-tracking program. “There is no domestic surveillance without court approval,” said Dana Perino, deputy press secretary, referring to actual eavesdropping.

She added that all national intelligence activities undertaken by the federal government “are lawful, necessary and required for the pursuit of al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorists.” All government-sponsored intelligence activities “are carefully reviewed and monitored,” Perino said. She also noted that “all appropriate members of Congress have been briefed on the intelligence efforts of the United States.”

So, even after the 2006 revelations and Congressional briefings by security officials, they were still satisfied that the programs were constitutional.

So what’s changed that the GOP is now claiming that these programs/actions are unconstitutional.

It isn’t the NSA’s actions.

It isn’t the law either.

I’d argue that the only thing that’s changed is that the GOP thinks that they’ve found an issue on which to hurt Democrats. I’m not alone in finding the flip-flop on the NSA and eavesdropping programs that the GOP formerly authorized so confounding (well, not really - it’s more enlightening about tactics and politics than about the specific policy itself).

But by convenience (and in the same way that they turned on a dime to claim that the ACA’s individual mandate was unconstitutional) they’re now claiming that a position they once held was unconstitutional.

It’s got nothing to do with the constitutionality of the NSA enabling legislation or the actions/results of the NSA programs. It has a whole lot to do with who won the White House and who won reelection in 2012.

So, it leads to a quandary: is the GOP pleading ignorance of the law they championed, or are they playing politics in the hopes of dinging the President and Democrats? It’s not like they can claim they were duped either. The 2006 revelations were well documented and should have informed decisions to reauthorize the law, including in 2011, and yet the law was reauthorized without concern about the constitutionality by these Republicans.

Well, they’re going to play it both ways. And neither is particularly satisfying.

It’s one thing to argue that the programs should be allowed to sunset because the threat has past or that additional reforms need to be instituted. It’s quite another to claim that the program is unconstitutional little more than a year after reauthorizing the law for a second time.

It was enacted with sunset clauses, meaning that it would require Congress to reauthorize - to look at the law with a critical eye and evaluate how the law operated in practice. They’ve now done so at least two times - 2006 and 2011, with amendments added in several other acts of Congress since first enacted in 2001.

Each time, the law was approved with support from Republicans.

Indeed, the current version of the law is far more protective of US civil rights and limits what the NSA can do with far stronger oversight. Many of the revelations about the NSA refer to actions before the Obama Administration came to office and before the reforms were instituted.

Only now, with a Democrat in the White House is there a complaint that the ongoing program is unconstitutional, when it was revealed to be doing the same exact thing that it was revealed to have done in 2006 (and to which Congress knew or should have known all along pursuant to the regular briefings to Congress).

Cross posted at A Blog For All.

^ back to top ^

TwitterFacebook

Turn off all ads for a full year by subscribing!
For about 33 cents a day (per month) or 22 cents a day (per year), our subscription option turns off all advertisements at LGF!
Read more...

► LGF Headlines

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Articles

  • Loading...

► Tweeted Pages

  • Loading...

► Top 10 Comments

  • Loading...

► Bottom Comments

  • Loading...

► Recent Comments

  • Loading...

► Tools/Info

► Tag Cloud

► Contact

You must have Javascript enabled to use the contact form.
Your email:

Subject:

Message:


Messages may be published unless you request otherwise.
Tech Note:
Using the Contact Form
LGF Pages

This button leads to the main index of LGF Pages, our user-submitted articles. You can post your own LGF Pages simply by registering a free account with us.

Create a Page

This is the LGF Pages posting bookmarklet. To use it, drag this button to your browser's bookmark bar, and title it 'LGF Pages' (or whatever you like). Then browse to a site you want to post, select some text on the page to use for a quote, click the bookmarklet, and the Pages posting window will appear with the title, text, and any embedded video or audio files already filled in, ready to go.

Or... you can just click this button to open the Pages posting window right away.

Last updated: 2014-03-07 2:19 pm PST

LGF User's Guide
Recent Pages
Randall Gross
Cliven Bundy Grandchildren Boycott School When Told They Can’t Bring Knives
The son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy pulled his five children out of Clark County, Nev. schools on Thursday after getting into a disagreement with administrators over the ability to carry pocketknives at school. The five students are the ...

12 hours, 7 minutes ago
Views: 214 • Comments: 3
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 2
FemNaziBitch
NYT: In Plastics and Cans, a Threat to Women —BPA’s
A few years ago, Jodi Flaws, a bioscientist at the University of Illinois, began testing a theory about the risks to women posed by the widely used industrial compound bisphenol A, or BPA. A series of studies had suggested ...

17 hours, 32 minutes ago
Views: 164 • Comments: 0
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 0
sagehen
Doctor Who Spoiler Thread
For those who want to post immediately... live... without having to hide spoilers behind the button.

5 days, 10 hours ago
Views: 587 • Comments: 99
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 6
EiMitch
Escapist: Maniac Cop
escapistmagazine.com Link broken? The gist is that this is an impressively sarcastic review of an old slasher flick based on the "unrealistic" premise of a cop abusing his power to murder people.

6 days, 10 hours ago
Views: 410 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 1
Hyped Up On Ganja
Hunt for German neo-Nazis was ‘complete disaster’
BERLIN (AP) -- Police and security services in Germany's eastern state of Thuringia bungled the hunt for three neo-Nazis, who years later turned out to be the main suspects in a far-right murder spree. Story

1 week ago
Views: 593 • Comments: 2
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 3
Rightwingconspirator
A Lizard’s Regenerating Tail
Don't ya hate it when that happens? You feel so short for a month. Anoles are curious little lizards capable of ditching their tails when they feel threatened. This self-amputation, called autotomy, takes about 25 days for the tail to ...

1 week ago
Views: 443 • Comments: 1
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 5
CriticalDragon1177
Io9 - Everything You Need To Know About Lemuria, The Lost Continent Of Lemurs
Esther Inglis-Arkell talks about the weirdest lost continent myth, I've ever heard. Its the only one I know of that ever included giant telepathic lemurs. No seriously! In 1858 a young zoologist, playing around with an idea, came up with ...

1 week ago
Views: 594 • Comments: 4
Tweets: 0 • Rating: 6
Laughing Gas
Scumbag “HBD believer” claims Michael Brown charged officer
WARNING: LINK TO HATE SITE He links to some ijreview, a right wing site: This guy makes me sick.

1 week, 3 days ago
Views: 1,410 • Comments: 6
Tweets: 1 • Rating: 1
 Frank says:

Lord have mercy on the people in England for the terrible food these people must eat. And Lord have mercy on the fate of this movie and God bless the mind of the man in the street.