By Bob Barr
Neither Congress nor the White House has proved itself capable of reaching a decision on how to begin trimming the $16.5 trillion national debt with which these two institutions have saddled the American taxpayers. They even have been unable to come up with a reasonable measure to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” they themselves constructed months ago. Yet, when it comes to expanding the power of the government to spy on American citizens without warrants, both the House and the Senate last week fairly tripped over themselves in a rush to pass legislation doing just that; with President Obama almost gleefully waiting to sign the bill.
The power to electronically surveill citizens without so much as asking a judge for leave to do so, stems from 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The rapid action by the Congress last Friday was prompted by fear that this extraordinary power would lapse at the end of this month – forcing Uncle Sam to actually justify its surveillance by seeking a warrant in advance of spying on citizens.
The federal government’s abject fear it might actually have to meet the constitutional requirement of having a good reason to eavesdrop on American citizens’ conversations before doing so, prompted a majority of Republicans and Democrats in the Congress – who can hardly agree on the time of day right now – to come together and make sure our intelligence agencies were not going to be hamstrung by law or the Bill of Rights.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid led the fight for surveillance with the standard, post-911 cry that…
Source: Town Hall