October 7, 2009

The Obama administration has been sticking to many of the tactics Bush used in his efforts in dealing with terrorism. The FISA fiasco was telling and now we have The Patriot Act. It's not surprising that any president would like to keep the status quo when they take office if they've been handed an office that has more power over our civil liberties than ever before. Sure, Obama is not Bush or Cheney, and I doubt he'd ever act like them, but that is no justification for not reining in the Patriot Act.

Glenn Greenwald

Reining in the excesses of the Patriot Act (and, relatedly, of ever-expanding eavesdropping powers) has long been a top agenda item for civil liberties groups -- and, at least so they claimed, for Democrats generally. In fact, when Obama voted for the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 last year in the middle of the campaign, he emphatically vowed that he would "fix" the problems with the FISA framework. But right as these reforms are finally being considered, the administration seizes on the Zazi case to insist that no such changes should be made:

At the same time, the Obama administration is pressing Congress to move swiftly to reauthorize three provisions of the USA Patriot Act set to expire in late December. They include the use of "roving wiretaps" to track movement, e-mail and phone communications, a tool that federal officials used in the weeks leading up to Zazi's arrest. . . .

"The Zazi case was the first test of this administration being able to successfully uncover and deal with this type of threat in the United States," a senior administration official said. "It demonstrated that we were able to successfully neutralize this threat, and to have insight into it, with existing statutory authorities, with the system as it currently operates."

So the Obama administration has its first allegedly big Terrorism case, and they can hardly contain themselves as they exploit it to justify a continuation of the very Patriot Act and FISA powers which Democrats (and, in the case of FISA, Obama himself) long claimed to oppose. Indeed, key Obama ally Dianne Feinstein has worked diligently in the Senate not just to block Patriot Act reforms, but to make the law even worse, and has repeatedly cited the Zazi case to justify that.

Glenn posted the above video from Julian Sanchez, who destroys the FOX Noise fearmongering arguments of why we just have to have FISA and TPA.

Cato's Julian Sanchez examines -- and absolutely destroys -- the fear-mongering claims from Fox News about efforts to reform the Patriot Act and FISA, with a particular focus on Fox's efforts to use the Zazi plot to justify the need for these powers


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