February 23, 2011

Time to Discuss the Patriot Act

Nearly a decade ago, I was one of only sixty-six members of the House of Representatives to vote against the so-called Patriot Act.

This past week, Congress extended controversial provisions within this law for another three months and once again, I opposed it.

As we approach the law's 10 year anniversary, the time has come for us to thoroughly review all of its provisions.

In October, 2001, Congress introduced, passed, and the president signed the Patriot Act. It was a far-reaching piece of legislation with the power to undermine the Constitutional right to privacy of law-abiding citizens.

My opposition was unpopular at the time, but when the details of the new law were examined, the breaches on our civil liberties became clearer.

The Patriot Act was hastily passed by a congress left reeling in the wake of the devastating 9-11 attacks. Today, the circumstances have changed and more voices from very different places on the political spectrum agree that the entire law bears scrutiny and debate.

And now, three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act have been extended for three more months: roving wiretaps, government access to 'any tangible items'such as library and business records, and the surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group.

We can no longer neglect our duty to review the full scope of this law.

And while a debate on the Patriot Act has been postponed in Congress, that doesn't mean we can't start discussing it.

Where do you think we stand after nearly a decade with these laws?

Go to my Facebook page and share your thoughts.