News Release

Could Rand Paul Force the PATRIOT Act to Lapse this Week?


The Hill reported Tuesday that Sen. Rand Paul’s, R-Ky., actions in the Senate “might cause the Patriot Act to lapse at the end of the week.”

BRUCE FEIN, bruce at
Fein was deputy attorney general under President Ronald Reagan and is author of “Constitutional Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for Our Constitution and Democracy” and “American Empire: Before the Fall.”

This week he testified against the PATRIOT Act on behalf of the Campaign for Liberty. He said: “The 342-page USA PATRIOT Act passed without inquiry into whether arming the government with muscular investigatory tools justified the corresponding intrusions on the right to be left alone — the right most valued by civilized people. The PATRIOT Act was portrayed as a necessary defense against foreign agents and international terrorists. Citizen liberties were relegated to extras in a Cecil B. De Mille cinematic extravaganza. …

“The PATRIOT Act was misnamed. Thomas Paine lectured: ‘It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.’ Accordingly, the true patriots of the Constitution and the Republic are the ‘band of brothers’ who stood or are standing in opposition. They understand that the secret of happiness is freedom. And the secret of freedom is the courage to accept risk as inherent to an enlightened and civilized existence.”

SHAHID BUTTAR, also, via Amy E. Ferrer,  media@bordc.org
Buttar is executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. He said today: “Congress is currently debating whether to reauthorize a handful of government surveillance powers among a vast range created by the PATRIOT Act ten years ago. The most problematic provisions of the PATRIOT Act are not part of the discussion, and the three that are have been insulated from criticism by the leadership in both the House and Senate, which have avoided and actively suppressed debate.

“Despite repeated, documented, ongoing, and even expanding abuses, the measures on which Congress is focusing offer no meaningful protections for civil liberties. Meanwhile, Americans from across the political spectrum who care about civil rights, and pay more than mere lip service to the Constitution, have mobilized to raise our voices and demand change — but remain ignored by members of Congress in both parties beholden to the Washington establishment.”

Buttar recently wrote the piece “UnPATRIOTic: Why Our Government Won’t Protect Our Rights – and What We Can Do About It,” which states: “The NSA continues to conduct secret operations never disclosed to Congress or the public, even though every court ever to have examined the known portions of its activities has struck them down as obviously unconstitutional. And the material support standard has been absurdly upheld by the Supreme Court, even when criminalizing nonviolent conflict resolution efforts, or being used as justification to harass dozens of peace activists across the Midwest.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 421-6858; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167