“I think he obviously has a higher priority for his fundraising and political ambitions than for the security of the nation.” -Republican U.S. Senator John McCain talking about Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul (Source).
McCain is absolutely correct. Last week I pointed out that on Rand Paul’s Presidential website, you can purchase a “Filibuster Starter Pack.”
There are a lot of people, many who are in the U.S. Senate and House, who do not understand national security. That’s been evident the past week or so – especially with the “Stand with Rand” crowd which includes my U.S. Senator, Steve Daines (R-MT).
With Paul and people in the Senate who support him leading the way, the United States is less safe this morning because Paul placed politics over our nation’s security. On an added note, the Republicans who have now been in control of the U.S. Senate for about six months are proving they have problems leading.
But back to the Patriot Act. According USA Today here are some immediate impacts from the expiration of the Patriot Act:
• The “lone wolf” provision of the law has expired. This allows U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies to target surveillance at suspected terrorists who are acting alone without any direct ties to terrorist groups or rogue nations. It specifically says that it does not apply to U.S. citizens. It has never actually been used, White House officials said.
• The “roving wiretap” provision has expired. This allows federal agencies to monitor a person rather than a specific phone or electronic device. The government can keep track of suspected terrorists regardless of how many cell phones they use and throw away. Approval for the surveillance must be obtained from a federal court.
• Section 215 of the Patriot Act had expired. This section has generated the most controversy and debate because the National Security Agency has used it as the basis to collect the phone records of millions of Americans not suspected of any crime. Many members of Congress would like to see this section changed or repealed.
• Lesser-known powers under Section 215 also ended. While the mass collection of phone records by the NSA has been the focus of attention, this section of the law is also used by the FBI and CIA to collect other information. For example, the CIA uses it to track financial data, such as wire transfers, that can help expose terrorist networks. The FBI has used it to obtain companies’ Internet business records.
The threats are not diminishing.
I’ve said before that I have no concerns about the collection of my phone records. It does not affect my liberty or freedom whatsoever. If collecting my phone records along with the bulk collection of other’s phone records will help make us safer, then I am all for it.
Rand Paul made some additional remarks that need to be mentioned. Paul said, “People here in town think I’m making a huge mistake. Some of them I think secretly want there to be an attack on the United States so they can blame it on me.”
This ridiculous remark should disqualify Paul from the Presidency as well as even being a United States Senator. Those who “Stand with Rand” should think long and hard about standing with him on much if anything.