A Fox News article today says:
Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham said Thursday night she laments the fact she didn’t pay more attention to the Patriot Act when it was signed into law by former President George W. Bush in 2001.
Speaking to Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly about the recent revelations the National Security Administration is monitoring American’s phone records, Ingraham said civil libertarians raised red flags at the time of the law’s passing, but that they were “laughed off.”
It is interesting that the very people who supported the original Patriot Act, in fact virulently defended it back when have suddenly realized that what civil libertarians said back when the Patriot Act was first proposed and passed is true. I do, however, find it disingenuous when radio hosts, such as Laura Ingraham, conveniently now claim that they paid little attention back when the act was first proposed. After all, this was not exactly a subject that was ignored by either the news media or civil libertarians.
But, the current controversy does point out that the USA has more divisions than simply conservative and liberal. For instance, in the current controversy over surveillance, the split is not Democrat and Republican, progressive and conservative, but rather libertarian and statist. While it may seem odd that there are conservative statists, they are most certainly present.
Those Democrats and Republicans who are most strongly supporting the current FISA Act implementation are those who believe in a centralized governmental surveillance for the sake of security. Those Democrats and Republicans who oppose the current implementation are those who do not believe that it is wise to give up our individual right to privacy without a verifiable and supportable good reason with significant oversight by an outside and neutral court.
On this issue, I am much more on the side of the libertarians than I am on the side of the statist security folks. But, I do find it gratifying that some of the statist security folk from several years ago are finally realizing that the warnings that many were giving back then were quite accurate. Anytime a country allows a secret court to render secret and wide ranging rulings, then one always ends up with wide-ranging abuses of power.
Sadly, many Congresspersons among both the Democrats and the Republicans have already spoken up in support of the FISA law. I am not sure whether there will be enough votes to repeal that most centrist and statist of laws. We shall see.
[Later add on:
President Barack Obama’s chief defense of his administration’s wide-ranging data-gathering programs Friday: Congress authorized them, with “every member” well aware of the details.
Not so, say many members of Congress — Democrats and Republicans alike.
Typically, members of Congress “don’t receive this kind of briefing,” Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told POLITICO Friday. They wouldn’t have known about the programs unless they were on an intelligence committee, attended special sessions last held in 2011 or specifically asked to be briefed – something they would only know to do if they were clued in by an colleague who was already aware.
I find it quite sad that members of Congress are rushing to claim that they knew nothing about the extent of the surveillance. The paragraphs above are called “plausible deniability.” Our Congresspeople are quickly distancing themselves from their own decisions.]