More Patriot Act Shenanigans

This is unsettling as hell. Stay vigilant.

There’s a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says – Danger Room – Wired.com: “You think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden says it’s worse than you know. Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. Wyden (D-Oregon) says that powers they grant the government on their face, the government applies a far broader legal interpretation — an interpretation that the government has conveniently classified, so it cannot be publicly assessed or challenged. But one prominent Patriot-watcher asserts that the secret interpretation empowers the government to deploy ”dragnets” for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.”

Where’d the Patriot Act’s Malcontents Go? – The Beacon: “It seems like only yesterday that a power-hungry president and administration, bent on starting preventive wars, shredding due process rights, stripping detainees of habeas corpus, and asserting executive supremacy in almost everything was trying to push the Patriot Act through an executive-friendly Senate and complacent House of Representatives. Members of his party were using procedural tricks to ram the bill through without the full deliberation it deserved. Leaders of the president’s party marginalized those who stood up in protest. Of course, this first happened in October 2001, but it has been happening all over again, although now the president is a Democrat and not a Republican.”

Charges Against the N.S.A.’s Thomas Drake : The New Yorker: “Drake recalled that, after the October 4th directive, “strange things were happening. Equipment was being moved. People were coming to me and saying, ‘We’re now targeting our own country!’ ” Drake says that N.S.A. officials who helped the agency obtain FISA warrants were suddenly reassigned, a tipoff that the conventional process was being circumvented. He added, “I was concerned that it was illegal, and none of it was necessary.” In his view, domestic data mining “could have been done legally” if the N.S.A. had maintained privacy protections. “But they didn’t want an accountable system.” Aid, the author of the N.S.A. history, suggests that ThinThread’s privacy protections interfered with top officials’ secret objective—to pick American targets by name. “They wanted selection, not just collection,” he says.”