PATRIOT ACT EXPIRING - Obama Turns Up Pressure. "This Needs To Get Done to Keep Americans Safe"

 Rand Paul (R-KY) said the reason he is fighting against the mass data collection of phone records of American citizens is because it is not being used to combat terrorism like promised.

“Ninety-nine percent of the time one of the sections is not being used for terrorists but is being used for domestic crime,” Paul said. “Outside the beltway people still do care about the Bill of Rights. One of the things that happens that does affect people’s civil liberty under the Patriot act, is 99% of the time one of the sections is not being used for terrorists but is being used for domestic crime. They promised when they passed this, we need to lower the standard, we’ll get rid of the Constitution, we can’t have constitutional exceptions for terrorists. Some of that I can accept, but the warning was this will be used on American citizens for other possible crimes. Section 213 of the Patriot Act, over 99% of the time is being used for domestic crimes. We gave up on the Constitution without even really understanding what we are doing.”

We give up on the Bill of Rights in this period of fear. I think we have given up on the soldiers who have fought so hard for our country.” The alleged tranche of documents was announced days before the US PATRIOT Act is set to expire. Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows government agents to compel businesses to turn over records and documents, and increasingly scooped up records of Americans who had no ties to official terrorism investigations.

Backers say the Patriot Act powers are critical and must be kept intact, particularly with the spread of the threat from terrorists. But opponents have doubted the efficacy of Section 215, particularly when it’s used to justify bulk data collection such as in the case of the National Security Agency’s phone metadata program, revealed in leaks from former government contractor Edward Snowden. Congressman Peter King accused Senator Rand Paul of ‘spreading fear’ during his marathon Patriot Act ‘filibuster’ last night, asserting that, “we are not sacrificing any liberty” as a result of NSA spying.
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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is running out of time to save sections of the Patriot Act that the White House deems crucial to national security. The White House is dialing up the pressure, with President Obama on Tuesday suggesting that the Senate should break from its Memorial Day recess to pass a bill that will “keep the American people safe and secure.”

Gov. Chris Christie questioned Wednesday whether the Patriot Act has led to a single civil liberties violation against American citizens.

The governor, saying he's the only official engaged in the national debate on whether to extend the Patriot Act who's had "practical experience" using it, said his likely Republican White House rivals have not pointed to a single violation against innocent citizens under the controversial program. Paul, also a 2016 presidential candidate, was responding to President Obama’s call for the Senate to find a way to extend the soon-expiring Patriot Act provisions. While the executive order giving the NSA broad spying authority was implemented in 1981 under President Ronald Reagan, the agency only began bulk collecting American’s phone records during the George W. Bush administration, via Section 215 of the Patriot Act. In 2011, Obama reauthorized certain provisions in the law.

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