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May 24, 2015

Patriot Act VICTORY! URGENT action still needed!

Here’s the background…

  • The NSA used section 215 of the Patriot Act to justify mass surveillance of American communications. Edward Snowden revealed this fact to the American people in 2013.
  • American outrage over this led to public pressure on Congress to end this practice. Congress responded in the usual way, by proposing bills that sounded like reform, but didn’t do much.
  • The very large police-state caucus in the Senate, led by Senator Mitch McConnell, ignored the public. They insisted that the ONLY path forward was a full, unchanged renewal of Patriot for a whopping five years — Snowden be damned. Then, these clever statists planned to drag everything down to the wire, gambling that members of Congress wouldn't dare let the Patriot Act expire.
  • But on May 13, the House of Representatives voted overwhelming for the USA Freedom Act. This was sold as a reform bill. And for at least one day, it was. Downsize DC opposed it. It was way too timid, and actually went backwards in at least one place.
  • Then, on May 14th, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that section 215 didn’t really authorize mass metadata dragnets. The Court was NOT saying it was unconstitutional. But they were clear that the NSA had assumed more authority than Congress had actually permitted. This is an important point, because…
  • The REAL problem with USA Freedom was that it would actually resurrect section 215, declared dead by the Second Circuit. But if Congress passed USA Freedom, post-Snowden and after this Second Circuit ruling there was no way for anyone to say that the spying power was unauthorized by Congress.
  • USA Freedom's passage in the House got McConnell to withdraw his full, non-reformed, five-year extension. But after the Second Circuit, USA Freedom is merely the resurrection of the Patriot Act with a few cosmetic “protections” thrown-in to silence public protest.
  • And the USA Freedom Act failed to achieve enough votes in the Senate on Friday night. This was okay with McConnell, because it meant he could push for a two-month extension of section 215, and then resume the effort for a better pro-spying bill after Congress returned from recess.
  • But Rand Paul filibustered and blocked McConnell’s attempts at an extension for 215!
  • McConnell is left with only one card left to play. Bring the Senate back into session on a SUNDAY, May 31 to try yet again for an extension before 215 expires that midnight. Or…
  • Observers wonder if he'll flip-flop on the flawed USA Freedom Act, and endorse it as a replacement?
  • This is the tactic we must now work to block. If we succeed, then a major part of the Patriot Act dies, and this particular tentacle of the mass metadata surveillance dragnets dies with it.

Use our campaign to Repeal the Patriot Act to send Congress a letter. The hardwired message for this letter reads…

I want the Patriot Act repealed.

Copy or edit the following for your personal comments…

You can take a major step in this direction by allowing section 215 of the Patriot Act to sunset.
Do NOT attempt to replace this provision with the USA Freedom Act. The bill is fraudulently named. It resurrects what the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has now killed. A lawless NSA will continue to violate my freedom. I do NOT consent.
Be clear about what I want…
* Section 215 of the Patriot act must be allowed to sunset
* The so-called USA Freedom Act must NOT be passed.
I will be watching what you do. I care passionately about this.

Please take action immediately, HERE.
Perry Willis & Jim Babka
Downsize DC

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