Since 2001, the government has used the Patriot Act to claim enormous, terrifying new powers to spy on Americans.
And with some of the Patriot Act’s most controversial provisions set to expire this spring — including one that the NSA claims lets it collect private data about all of our phone calls — we have a big opportunity to put a stop to widespread, indiscriminate surveillance.
Many of these provisions were only supposed to be authorized for a number of years. Unfortunately, Congress has allowed itself to be backed into a corner on rubberstamping reauthorization of the law year after year.
After the leaks by Edward Snowden, even the original Patriot Act author Rep. James Sensenbrenner has said that the authority claimed by the government to spy on Americans far exceeds the intent of the law.
Good news: last week, Representatives Mark Pocan and Thomas Massie introduced the Surveillance State Repeal Act, which would repeal the Patriot Act and restore our constitutionally protected civil liberties.
Sure, getting a full repeal of the Patriot Act will be an uphill battle. But Congress won’t move to restore our civil liberties unless we demand it.
Let’s make the Patriot Act history.