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Where Do The NJ Senate Democratic Candidates Stand On NSA Big Brother Surveillance?

In October, New Jersey voters will select a permanent replacement for deceased U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg. In just two weeks, though, New Jersey Democrats will have the opportunity to vote to select their candidate in the race.

The candidate who eventually gains the Senate seat will have some important work to do. The United States is in a constitutional crisis, as we’ve learned that Barack Obama has continued George W. Bush’s defiance of the Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights, maintaining a massive electronic surveillance system operated by the U.S. military’s National Security Agency, seizing private communications information from practically every American household on a daily basis, and doing it all without a search warrant.

The U.S. Senate could end these programs’ attacks against the Constitution. All it has to do is repeal the Patriot Act and FISA Amendments Act, the two laws that have been used to create the infamous Big Brother spying network at the NSA.

As a matter of fact, one of the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in New Jersey has already taken action on this issue. Rush Holt has not only spoken out in protest against the NSA electronic spying network, but has introduced legislation that would dismantle the network by repealing the Patriot Act and FISA Amendments Act. Last night, Representative Holt held a Geek Out Live in order to gain support for the legislation. Holt also voted against the FISA Amendments Act when it was originally introduced.

Of course, Congressman Holt is not the only candidate in the New Jersey Democratic primary. Where do the other candidates stand on this issue?

spy on new jerseyCory Booker says that he is “deeply troubled” by the NSA spying against Americans, but has refused to endorse any specific legislative action to end the surveillance of Americans’ phone calls, emails, and online activities. Booker vaguely says that he wants to “update” the NSA surveillance of Americans. Booker has attacked NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, calling Snowden “not heroic”, and has also expressed his opposition to a legislative amendment by U.S. Representative Justin Amash that would have ended NSA spying on Americans’ private telephone calls. Rush Holt voted for that amendment.

If you want a Democrat in the Senate to stand up to the NSA, Cory Booker is not a good choice.

U.S. Representative Frank Pallone is another Democratic candidate in the race. Pallone says that he opposes the NSA spying against Americans. Yet, when Pallone had the opportunity to take concrete action against the surveillance program, he did nothing. Pallone didn’t even show up last week to vote on Amash’s amendment to end telephone surveillance by the military. He said he was too busy, with “other demands on his time”. Specifically, Pallone had a meeting with the Recreational Fishing Alliance.

Instead of taking responsibility on the National Security Agency spying scandal, Frank Pallone went fishing. That exposes Pallone as a rather unreliable opponent of Big Brother surveillance.

There is one other Democratic candidate in the Senate race: Sheila Oliver, Speaker of the New Jersey Assembly. Oliver has only issued a short statement on issue of NSA spying against Americans, saying that “some of the recent revelations made regarding National Security Administration (NSA) programs reveal that we’ve gone a step too far and that we must work to ensure that the privacy of law abiding citizens is protected.” Oliver has not endorsed any specific remedy to the problem, and has suggested that Americans constitutional rights must be sacrificed to some extent to achieve “balance” with the demands of those who desire stronger Homeland Security.

Of all the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in New Jersey, only Rush Holt has a record of consistent, strong, specific action to confront the growth of the military’s anti-American electronic surveillance network. So, if the Holt for Senate campaign doesn’t work out, how about Rush Holt for President in 2016?

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