Independent Christian Voice

Thursday

A (small) step in the right direction with Patriot Act powers

From the Associated Press:
Congress is moving to curb some of the police powers it gave the Bush administration after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including imposing new restrictions on the FBI's access to private phone and financial records. A budding House-Senate deal on the expiring USA Patriot Act includes new limits on federal law enforcement powers and rejects the Bush administration's request to grant the FBI authority to get administrative subpoenas for wiretaps and other covert devices without a judge's approval. […] Congress is moving to curb some of the police powers it gave the Bush administration after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, including imposing new restrictions on the FBI's access to private phone and financial records. A budding House-Senate deal on the expiring USA Patriot Act includes new limits on federal law enforcement powers and rejects the Bush administration's request to grant the FBI authority to get administrative subpoenas for wiretaps and other covert devices without a judge's approval.
Now the (really) bad part:
Even with the changes, however, every part of the law set to expire Dec. 31 would be reauthorized and most of those provisions would become permanent.
My senator (one of which I agree with about 0.5% of the time) Tom Coburn has the right idea when it comes to legislation like the Patriot Act, as he related it to Tim Russert on Meet the Press:
I think we need to be very careful with the Patriot Act. We should not ever give up freedom on the basis of fear, and any freedom that we give up should be limited in time and limited in scope. And so therefore I believe the Patriot Act across all levels should be sunsetted just as I believe every other law we passed in terms of giving the government new powers or new programs should be sunsetted so that we come back and have to make a decision about it. The Patriot Act coming out of the House has no sunset provisions. And I believe it's important for Americans' rights that we sunset those and look at them again.
What I find interesting is that the Republicans have long ran on the principle of limited government. Yet, with a few exceptions (like Coburn), the Republican-led Congress has been driving to keep and even expand the most serious encroachments of government upon our freedom we've seen in our lifetime. The Republican party preaches limited government and fiscal responsibility; but what they do is quite the opposite. Practice what you preach, Republicans! (This is one of the fundamental reasons I left the Republican party.)

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