Sunday, May 10, 2015

Perserve your civil liberties by telling Congress to act in favor of the people concerning the Patriot Act

From Campaign For Liberty:

Dr. Paul and I wanted you to see Norm Singleton’s Legislative Strategy memo outlining why it is so important you support C4L’s “Stop the Surveillance State Banner Bomb” aimed at fence-riding senators thinking about voting to extend the “Patriot” Act.

Norm has worked with Dr. Paul for over twenty years, fifteen of them spent on Capitol Hill as Dr. Paul’s top legislative and policy adviser.

No one in the liberty movement knows as much about the inner workings of Capitol Hill as Norm.

Dr. Paul and myself rely on his analysis and it’s a pleasure to share what may be one of the most important legislative strategy memos he has ever written.

I cannot think of a better person to explain the opportunities and challenges the battle over the surveillance state presents the liberty movement.

I hope as you read this you will agree to help fully fund our “Stop the Surveillance State Banner Bomb” by chipping in a contribution of $30 , $20 , or $10 .

In Liberty,

John Tate

Legislative Strategy Memo

TO: Ron Paul, Chairman
John Tate, President
FROM: Norm Singleton, Vice President of Policy
CC: C4L Staff and Members
RE: C4L's efforts to block “PATRIOT” Act extension


As you know, several provisions of the so-called “PATRIOT” Act, including Section 215 (used by the National Security Agency to justify its controversial metadata collection program) sunset at the end of May.

For the reasons outlined below, the upcoming debate on reauthorizing those provisions provides us with a great opportunity to start rolling-back the surveillance state.

At the very least, this battle can enable us to alert more Americans to the dangers of mass surveillance and join our efforts. This is why I believe we must devote as many resources as possible to our “Stop the Surveillance State Banner Bomb.”

Unfortunately, two years after the Snowden revelations we are still getting phony, watered-down reforms from the House. Next week, the House of Representatives will consider the USA FREEDOM Act (USAF). Sponsors of this bill claim that it ends bulk collection and protects our rights.

However, an examination of the details of this bill shows that it does not end warrantless surveillance or bulk data collection.

Phony, Watered-Down Reforms:

USAF simply places some small limitations on the government’s ability to conduct these programs. So at most, the bill will slightly curtail the existing metadata program, assuming the NSA does not find ways to get around even the minor restraints imposed by this bill.

Friday’s Second Circuit Court decision that the NSA’s metadata collection is not authorized by current law may actually make this worse since the court only found the 215 bulk metadata collection program illegal because it lacked statutory authorization.

Passage of the USA Freedom act may thus void the decision by authorizing, for the first time, certain types of bulk metadata collection -- albeit with some “limitations!”

One reason this bill is so weak is that the House leadership told the Judiciary Committee they would not allow any “reform” bill to come to the floor unless the House Intelligence Committee supported it.

As both of you know, the Intelligence Committee is full of the most die-hard supporters of the surveillance state in Congress.

In fact, the current Chairman of the Committee once referred to Justin Amash as “Al-Qaeda’s best friend” because of Representative Amash’s efforts to end mass surveillance.

So the fix was in.

At the Judiciary Committee mark-up, Representative Ted Poe of Texas and Representative Raul Labrador of Idaho both offered amendments that would have provided Americans with real protections from warrantless surveillance.

Both of these amendments were rejected even though many members spoke in favor of them. But those representatives admitted the reason they were voting against the amendment was because they had heard that amending the bill to enact real protections of our liberties would “blow up the deal.”

Senate "Bait and Switch":

In the Senate, the situation is even worse. Senate leadership is attempting to divert our attention away from the flaws in USA FREEDOM Act with a classic “trick play.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a clean “PATRIOT” Act reauthorization bill extending these provisions until 2020 and placed it directly on the Senate calendar.

However, Senator McConnell is well aware that there are not the votes to pass clean reauthorization in the House, and he likely lacks the votes in the Senate to pass it too.

So why is Senator McConnell doing this? Information I have picked up from both the "inside-the-beltway" media and the conversions with our allies on the Hill indicates that McConnell may be trying to divert attention away from the problems with the USA FREEDOM Act.

Believe it or not (and I know you will both have no problem believing this) many of our inside-the-beltway “allies” are once again falling for McConnell’s trick.

These “leaders” are frankly working to pass the USAF in order to stop McConnell from passing his clean reauthorization bill into law.

They are doing this even though (as I pointed out above) McConnell does not have the votes to pass a clean reauthorization bill.

More importantly, when you examine both proposals, the practical result of passing USAF would be nearly the same as passing McConnell’s bill.

Falling for the “we must pass something bad to avoid getting something worse” is an exceptionally poor strategy since, if Congress does nothing, Section 215 and other PATRIOT Act provisions expire in three weeks.

In other words, all we have to do is keep legislation extending the Sec. 215 program off President Obama’s desk for three weeks and we win!

That is why Campaign for Liberty's “Stop the Surveillance State Banner Bomb” is so important.

Since we are not falling for McConnell's scheme, we are one of the few groups positioned to play a key role in this debate.

If we raise the funds to implement the complete program, we can flood popular websites like Facebook with ads alerting pro-liberty Americans to the upcoming votes and mobilize them to put the heat on Congress.

This will enable us to bury the Senate with petitions demanding Congress reject both the USA FREEDOM Act and any clean reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act.

Battle is in the Senate:

In my discussions on Capitol Hill with friendly and undecided offices, I believe that while we should not totally ignore the House, our best change to defeat the bill is in the Senate.

Tim Shoemaker and I have analyzed the situation in the House and concluded that House leadership is going be able to cobble together a coalition of pro-surveillance members desperate to expand the “PATRIOT” Act and those desperate to "do something" about surveillance but unwilling to fight leadership.

In the Senate, however, one Senator can delay pro-surveillance legislation giving us time to build support against any phony “reform” bill and take advantage of the sunsetting provisions to either force the Senate to allow the Sec. 215 and other provisions to expire or pass real anti-surveillance legislation.

As you know, Rand has already said he will oppose USA FREEDOM, a straight reauthorization bill, or any other legislation that allows the NSA to continue to spy and snoop on innocent Americans without a warrant.

All we need to do is convince a handful of senators to vote with Rand and we can block any pro-surveillance state legislation from passing the Senate and reaching President Obama’s desk.

Of course, our success ultimately depends on us getting the support of our members to fully implement the “Stop the Surveillance State Banner Bomb.”

It’s vital our members understand the importance of fully funding the “Stop the Surveillance State Banner Bomb” by making their most generous contribution of $30 , $20 , or $10 .

To sign the petition

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