Electronic Communications Privacy Act Rewrite
By Paul Gable
One more nail in the coffin of liberty is being prepared in Washington as Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy’s rewrite of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act is scheduled for a vote next week.
Despite the misleading name, the rewritten bill would allow 22 federal agencies unlimited access to email accounts without a search warrant and without notifying either the account owner or a judge.
This is just another example of how the federal government is solidifying its position as the ever watchful ‘Big Brother.’
The rewritten bill will not be as egregious as other federal government initiatives since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Bush administration rammed the Patriot Act through Congress in October 2001 in response to the 9/11 attacks. Effectively without review or debate, the Patriot Act neutered about eight of the ten amendments of the Bill of Rights.
More recently, the Obama administration took things one step further with presidential authorized assassinations of “suspected” terrorists on the basis of executive branch reviews of evidence. Attorney General Eric Holder tried to justify with this process with extremely convoluted logic.
“Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security,” Holder said. “The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”
Holder went on to say that executive branch reviews of evidence against suspected al-Qaeda leaders before they are targeted for killing meet the constitution’s “due process” requirement and that American citizenship alone doesn’t protect individuals from being killed.
What we have seen since 9/11 is a softened, but just as dangerous, move to a police state in which the Constitution is ignored and citizens have no rights.
I am reminded of the famous quote by Pastor Martin Niemoller of similar circumstances in Nazi Germany.
Pastor Niemoller was a prominent German Protestant pastor who was an outspoken critic of Adolf Hitler and his regime. He spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in a concentration camp.
His quote below speaks to the way the German people allowed the Nazi regime to literally get away with murder:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.
Put another way, one of our Founding Fathers warned against what, in my opinion, the federal government is in the process of doing to us in the name of security and fighting terrorism:
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. – Benjamin Franklin
It’s probably not entirely accurate to say we are giving up essential liberty. It’s more like we are allowing the federal government to rip it away by standing by and allowing it to pass laws producing the same effect.
Does anybody care?