Last week, U.S. Representative Justin Amash introduced a legislative amendment that would have restricted National Security Agency surveillance against Americans back to constitutional parameters, requiring government spies to specifically name the individual people they wish to target, and to identify probable cause for suspicion of criminal behavior, before seizing private telephone records.
The Amash amendment was defeated by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans who favor the Big Brother surveillance state established under George W. Bush and Barack Obama. However, the struggle to restore the Fourth Amendment right to protection from warrantless, unreasonable search and seizure continues.
The same day that the House of Representatives defeated the Amash amendment, Senate candidate and U.S. Representative Rush Holt introduced H.R. 2818, the Surveillance State Repeal Act. The legislation would repeal the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act, the two laws that have formed the main basis of legal justification for unconstitutional spying against Americans by the NSA, FBI, CIA and other government agencies.
Explaining the bill, Holt said, “The National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been collecting the personal communications of literally millions of innocent Americans for no legitimate reason. Instead of using these powers to zero in on the tiny number of real terrorist threats we face, the executive branch turned these surveillance powers against the American people as a whole. My legislation would put a stop to that right now.”
Activist support for the Surveillance State Repeal Act is growing. Statements from supporters include the following:
“There’s a hunger in the country for this nonsense to end, and there seems some hunger in Congress as well. My instinct is to build this resistance to the National (actually International) Spook State as big as it can get. Thanks, Mr. Holt, for getting the ball rolling. We’re with you all the way.” – From AmericaBlog
“Representative Holt just renewed my confidence in our system. I have lost faith in our federal government being able to accomplish anything that benefits the public. I’ve come to believe that many in Congress work hard for special interests; banking, globalist, oil, etc. or they put their own party politics ahead of any public interest, but learning about Representative Holt (I never knew his name before) gives me a reason to hope not all is lost. I hope he is a new wave of Congressmen and women revializing [sic] our Constitution and our Republic. Thank you Representative Holt for your thoughtful and decent work.” – From Ila Buscaino at Conscious Life News
“While the rest of the country was celebrating our independence, House Dem. Rush Holt (NJ-12) was doing something about it — drafting legislation to repeal both the Patriot Act of 2001 and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.” – From Carolina Naturally
“Yes, I oppose rampant, secret spying. Yes, I want to see Rush Holt in the Senate,” and “I’ve long been an admirer of Holt for reasons going way beyond his unusually firm defense of civil liberties and opposition to secrecy.” – From Glenn Greenwald
“Unless you are among the one-quarter of Americans who like being a slave to government surveillance and unnecessary anti-terror laws like the Patriot Act that have gutted our freedom, you should call your Congress critters and demand they support Rush Holt’s Surveillance State Repeal Act.” – From Washington’s Blog
“We cannot simply tinker around the edges of an opaque, non-adversarial and broken surveillance law and its accompanying secret court,” says Representative Holt. “Restoration of a true probable cause-based warrant requirement for surreptitiously tracking American citizens allegedly involved in criminal activity is vital. And we must ensure that those seeking to report abuses can do so safely and securely. Our government must do what the founders intended: treat all Americans as citizens first, not suspects.”