THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT JUST ADMITTED IT WILL CONTINUE WARRANTLESS SPYING – EVEN IF CONGRESS VOTES TO STOP IT

Bypass the Fourth Amendment With One Weird Trick — Edward Snowden (@Snowden) December 6, 2017

U. S. officials admit they are not planning on shutting down the government’s warrantless spying program, even if it is not reauthorized by 2018.
As the United States Congress runs out of time to vote on a bill that would reauthorize one of the government’s most egregious warrantless spying programs, officials are claiming that those programs won’t end anytime soon – even if they are not reauthorized by the end of the year.
The USA Liberty Act will reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2017. While the bill’s proponents have claimed it will help ensure ‘security’ in the United States, privacy advocates have warned that will provide additional loopholes for the government to continue conducting warrantless surveillance of innocent Americans.
The assumption may be that if the USA Liberty Act is not signed into law, then the provisions from Section 702 will no longer be legal and the U. S. government will stop collecting data from innocent Americans without warrants – but intelligence officials do not see it that way.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 8, 2017.

Ron Paul: Don’t Let Them Take Your Liberty After Orlando

Last week America was rocked by the cold-blooded murder of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Unlike the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Orlando shooter appears to be a lone gunman who, while claiming allegiance to ISIS, was not actually working with a terrorist group. About the only thing Orlando has in common with 9/11 is the way power-hungry politicians and federal officials wasted no time using it to justify expanding government and restricting liberty.
Immediately following the shooting, we began to hear renewed calls for increased government surveillance of Muslims, including spying on Muslim religious services. Although the Orlando shooter was born in the US, some are using the shooting to renew the debate over Muslim immigration. While the government certainly should prevent terrorists from entering the country, singling out individuals for government surveillance and other violations of their rights because of religious faith violates the First Amendment and establishes a dangerous precedent that will be used against other groups. In addition, scapegoating all Muslims because of the act of one deranged individual strengthens groups like ISIS by making it appear that the US government is at war with Islam.
The Orlando shooting is being used to justify mass surveillance and warrantless wiretapping. For the past three years, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Defense Department appropriations bill limiting mass surveillance. But, last week, the same amendment was voted down. The only difference between this year’s debate and previous debates was that this year defenders of the surveillance state were able to claim that the Orlando shooting justifies shredding the Fourth Amendment.
The fact that the Orlando shooter had twice been investigated by the FBI shows that increased surveillance and wiretapping would not have prevented the shooting. Mass surveillance also creates a ‘needle in a haystack’ problem that can make it difficult, or impossible, for law enforcement to identify real threats. Unfortunately, evidence that giving up liberty does not increase security has never deterred those who spread fear to gain support for increased government power.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner on June 21, 2016.

The Spies Who Ruin Us

In an effort to draw attention away from the intelligence failures that permitted the attacks of 9/11 and create the impression that it was doing something – anything – to avoid a repeat, the federal government tampered seriously with freedoms expressly guaranteed in the Constitution. Its principal target was the right to privacy, which is protected in the Fourth Amendment.
At President George W. Bush’s urging, Congress passed the Patriot Act in October 2001. This 315-page statute passed the House of Representatives with no debate, and there was very limited debate in the Senate. I have asked many members of Congress over the years whether they read this bill before they voted upon it, and I have yet to find a member who did. In the House, that would have been impossible; the bill was made available to representatives only 15 minutes prior to their vote.
This law permits FBI agents to write their own search warrants for business records, and it has been used to induce the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to issue warrants on a made-up basis to read emails and listen to telephone calls in real time. The members of Congress who voted for it were largely unaware of the liberties they were sacrificing.
The personal liberties that Congress surrendered have been a necessary bulwark against tyranny – the constitutional requirement of warrants as a precondition to searching homes and records, with warrants based on probable cause and specifically describing the place to be searched and the person or thing to be seized.
When Edward Snowden revealed the nature and extent of the domestic spying that the government unleashed upon us post-9/11 and made us all aware of its use of the Patriot Act to do so, the authors of the Patriot Act expressed outrage and anger.
What was the government doing?

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Andrew P. Napolitano ‘ December 3, 2015.

Chris Christie Flunked Civics 101 – – Proved He’s Clueless About 4th Amendment in Debate With Rand Paul

The dust-up between New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul over presidential fidelity to the Constitution – particularly the Fourth Amendment – was the most illuminating two minutes of the Republican debate last week.
It is a well-regarded historical truism that the Fourth Amendment was written by victims of government snooping, the 1770s version. The Framers wrote it to assure that the new federal government could never do to Americans what the king had done to the colonists.
What did the king do? He dispatched British agents and soldiers into the colonists’ homes and businesses ostensibly looking for proof of payment of the king’s taxes and armed with general warrants issued by a secret court in London.
A general warrant did not name the person or place that was the target of the warrant, nor did it require the government to show any suspicion or evidence in order to obtain it. The government merely told the secret court it needed the warrant – the standard was ‘governmental need’ – and the court issued it. General warrants authorized the bearer to search wherever he wished and to seize whatever he found.
The Fourth Amendment requires the government to present to a judge evidence of wrongdoing on the part of a specific target of the warrant, and it requires that the warrant specifically describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized. The whole purpose of the Fourth Amendment is to protect the right to be left alone – privacy – by preventing general warrants.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Andrew P. Napolitano ‘ August 13, 2015.

Saving the Fourth Amendment – Good Riddance To The Patriot Act Section 215

The Patriot Act has a bad pedigree and an evil history. In the fearful days immediately following 9/11, the Department of Justice quickly sent draft legislation to Congress that, if enacted, would have permitted federal agents to violate their oaths to uphold the Constitution by writing their own search warrants. The draft subsequently was revealed to have been written before 9/11, but that’s another story.
The House Judiciary Committee reviewed the legislation and revised it so that it would meet Fourth Amendment norms. The revised version permitted federal agents to write their own search warrants for business records, but the warrants could be challenged by the custodian of the records or by the person whose records were being sought. Because the records were in the hands of a third party, they were in no danger of destruction.
The Fourth Amendment was written largely to assure that the general warrants British soldiers used to search the colonists’ homes would never be lawful in the United States. General warrants were issued by secret courts in London based on the government’s needs, not on evidence of wrongdoing. They authorized the bearer to search wherever he wished and seize whatever he found.
In order to protect the natural right to be left alone – privacy – the Framers enacted standards in the Fourth Amendment that required the government to produce evidence about the person whose records it wants – called probable cause – and present that evidence to a judge when it wants a search warrant. If granted, the Constitution requires that the warrant particularly describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Andrew P. Napolitano ‘ May 28, 2015.

Repeal The Patriot Act, Restore The Fourth

If you plan to visit a college campus this month, don’t be surprised if you see signs and placards encouraging you to ‘Restore the Fourth.’ Restore the Fourth is not about an athletic event or a holiday; it is about human freedom. The reference to ‘the Fourth’ is to the Fourth Amendment, and it is badly in need of restoration.
In the dark days following 9/11, Congress enacted the PATRIOT Act. The PATRIOT Act has many flaws, including its prohibition of certain truthful public speech, but its most pernicious assault is on the constitutional right to privacy.
One of its sections permits federal agents to write their own search warrants and serve them on persons and entities who by law are the custodians of records about others, such as physicians, lawyers, bankers, telecoms, public utilities and computers servers. The same section of the act has been used perversely by the NSA and the secret FISA court to authorize the bulk collection of data.
Bulk collection of data – the indiscriminate governmental acquisition of the contents of emails, text messages, telephone calls, bank statements and credit card bills – is what the NSA seeks when it acquires all data in a specific area code or zip code or from a named provider, like Verizon, AT&T and Google.

This post was published at David Stockmans Contra Corner by Andrew P. Napolitano ‘ May 7, 2015.

Government Secrecy at All-Time High

The Sunlight is Fading … and America Is Falling Into Darkness
US Supreme Court Justice Brandeis said:
Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.
But there’s no longer much sunlight to disinfect the corruption of the government or the powers-that-be.
More and more commonly, the government prosecutes cases based upon ‘secret evidence’ that they don’t show to the defendant…or sometimes even the judge hearing the case.
As just one example, government is ‘laundering’ information gained through mass surveillance through other agencies, with an agreement that the agencies will ‘recreate’ the evidence in a ‘parallel construction’…so the original source of the evidence is kept secret from the defendant, defense attorneys and the judge. A former top NSA official says that this is the opposite of following the Fourth Amendment, but is a ‘totalitarian process’ which shows that we’re in a ‘police state’.
The government uses ‘secret evidence’ to spy on Americans, prosecute leaking or terrorism charges (even against U. S. soldiers) and even assassinate people. And see this and this.
Secret witnesses are being used in some cases. And sometimes lawyers are being prevented from reading their own briefs.
Indeed, even the laws themselves are now starting to be kept secret. And it’s about to get a lot worse.
American citizens are also being detained in Guantanamo-like conditions in Chicago…including being held in secret, with the government refusing to tell a suspect’s lawyer whether his client is being held. And see this, this and this.
The Department of Defense has also made it a secret – even from Congress – as to the identity of the main enemies of the United States.
Today, Glenn Greenwald adds yet another twist to the trend towards secrecy:

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on March 27th, 2015.