Senator Paul Paul held a conference at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall emphasizing the need for NSA’s bulk collection of data to become obsolete.
During his speech he lashed out at what he perceives to be a grave infringement on privacy rights of the American citizens, as well as of those who find themselves on the territory of the United States.
The conference comes at a time when the Patriot Act, particularly section 215 enabling the dragnet collection of data by the NSA is set to expire in June. Last week only, the U.S. House passed the USA Freedom Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at putting an end to the Agency’s ability to use Section 215. Instead, it would place the responsibility for data retrieval in the hands of big telecom operators that keep the records for long periods of time for billing purposes.
Although the USA Freedom Act was adopted by the House, the Senate is countering the efforts. Senate Leader Majority Mitch McConnell, a known supporter of anti-terrorism surveillance programs pushes for an extension of the provision that allow bulk collection of private data.
McConnell suggested that the extension of Section 215 would allow the Senate a longer period to debate. This suggestion drew the opprobrium of critics who argue that the prevision of the Patriot Act must be changed for the better or let to expire.
Senator Paul Paul, supported by the Majority Leader in his race for the GOP presidential nomination for 2017 is threatening with a filibuster if the Patriot Act is renewed without reform.
For the GOP support for the government surveillance play an important factor in retaining the base. For the upcoming presidential primaries, it could spin things either way.
It is important to be reminded that surveillance programs are a legacy of 9/11 when the Patriot Act was established. George W. Bush set things in motion in the war against terrorism and the actions continued under the Obama administration.
In seeking to offer a legal umbrella for the collection of data on „innocent Americans”, the government lost sight of real threats, commented Senator Paul Paul, making a reference to the Boston marathon bombers.
Paul added that if he were to take the presidential seat, the NSA would continue to exist. However, the agency’s operations would target more real threats and suspects that every other American Citizen.
Referring to the ruling of the court to the unconstitutionality of the dragnet data collection, Senator Paul also added:
“If the President’s obeying the law, he should stop it immediately and we shouldn’t be doing this. I don’t want to replace it with another system”.
Both Senator Paul Paul and Senator Ted Cruz understand the law as a privacy infringement.
However, known faces of the GOP failed to make any remarks so far. Governor Jeb Bush, another contender for the presidential primaries is still to take an official stand on the matter. Governor Scott Walker, the same.
At the moment the U.S. senate is also struggling with the Iran nuclear deal and the TPP. The Patriot Act, and consequently the NSA surveillance program add to a bundle of controversial topics.
Image Source: The Daily Beast