Someone call the Smithsonian. An historic event has just occurred. Yesterday, on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert gave a speech in which he halfway made sense.
Talking about the USA Freedom Act, Gohmert acknowledged that he had been mistaken when, years ago, he gave speeches telling his colleagues that Americans didn’t have to worry about being spied upon by government agents using Patriot Act powers. He admitted that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had been dishonest when he told Congress that there wouldn’t be any spying against Americans.
So, Gohmert supports efforts to fix the Patriot Act, but he also warns that the USA Freedom Act, as written, creates inadequate reforms. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has already noted some of the flaws in the legislation. Gohmert brings up an additional concern: That ambiguous terminology allowing federal investigators to spy on any “clandestine intelligence activity” could open the door to espionage operations against a large number of ordinary, legal activities.
Gohmert said, “I will have an amendment to this bill. The Rules Committee may or may not allow it to come to the floor. If the Speaker doesn’t want it to come to the floor, it is not likely it will come to the floor. And if that is the case, I will have to vote against this so-called fix to the PATRIOT Act because it doesn’t fix it. It just allows more cover for the Federal Government, with a massive hole for anybody that wants to gather information on anybody.
We need to fix it. We don’t need to have an act that allows Federal agents, whether it was the Bush administration, as they were doing, whether it is the Obama administration, as they have been doing, or a future administration–whether Republican or Democrat–we need to stop fishing expeditions.
That should be bipartisan. It was bipartisan until the negotiators of the so-called fix got very protective and decided they were not accepting such an amendment that would close this gaping hole that allows abuse by the Federal Government.
I hope it will be reconsidered, but unless there is a lot of push from the public, Mr. Speaker, I doubt that they are going to be any less protective of their negotiated work, and so it will allow this administration to continue spying and getting information on American citizens that I would contend is not appropriate at all.”