Senator Tom Cotton, the man who authored an embarrassing letter to Iran and got 46 other mooks to sign on to try and undermine peace negotiations now is ramping up love of the 'Surveillance State' by adding new provisions into the Patriot Act.
The latest fight concerns three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who chairs the Select Committee on Intelligence, offered a bill this week that would extend the provisions for five-and-a-half years. The bill would cover the bulk collection of phone records under the Patriot Act’s 215 program, which generated enormous controversy when it was revealed by leaker Edward Snowden.
The bill also would prolong two other measures : A so-called “lone wolf” provision that allows the government to surveil potential terrorists who aren't directly connected to terrorist cells; and a section that allows the feds to use roving wiretaps to monitor suspects who rapidly change location or communication device.
There's a fight going on between the Rand Paul wing of the party and the rest of the neocons over how much warmongering Republicans can get away with along with upping the ante in how much the government can keep an eye on all our personal communications in the name of freedom or some such nonsense. As usual Tehran Tom is leading the fight to curtail the very freedoms he says he wants to protect.
Howie at DownwithTyranny:
Undaunted by this humiliation, the Republican Party has decided that Cotton is the man to lead them into the future on national security issues. And unfortunately, he's decided that his next mission will be to lead the Republican charge to extend certain provisions of the Patriot Act which are set to expire this June. They've even added some new powers for the NSA, just to make things interesting.
There was a lot of talk at one time about a new coalition of civil libertarian Republicans and civil libertarian Democrats coming together to reform these programs now that the nation is aware of what they're actually doing. Sadly, the number of civil libertarians in the Republican Party can fit in a small Smart Car and the civil libertarians in the Democratic Party are not a majority. And with über-hawk Tom Cotton waving the “national security” banner we can be sure the Republicans are intent upon squelching any thoughts of reform.
Rep. Jim Jordan on whether he backs Corker's Iran bill: "I want to talk to Tom Cotton. He's the guy who has the best insight."
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) April 22, 2015
Obviously, the idea that any insight can be gleaned from the freshman senator — who famously made the Republican caucus look like a bunch of bumbling fools when they signed on to his embarrassing letter to Iran — is the disturbing part of that comment. When I described Cotton as “a leading light on the right in foreign policy and national security,” back in February, I thought I was making a little joke. But this man, who has been in the Senate for about three months, really has become the go-to expert on all things related to foreign boogeymen.