By: Harry Waisbren
First off, there has yet to be a final vote on the House Judiciary Committee markup of the USA PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009. Markup continues tomorrow morning at 10 a.m, and we’ll be back in the Patriot Act Action hub aggregating and relaying news and action items through our tweetchat once again!
For analysis of today, Kevin Bankston of EFF is a good place to start:
So, a mixed bag so far as we head into our second day of the PATRIOT mark-up. The supporters of reform have so far done a good job of beating back bad amendments from the Republican camp, but we’re also starting to see Chairman Conyers and other Democrats working to weaken their own bill in a number of ways at the request of the Administration
Marcy Wheeler also has a great recap, where she explains why this is currently a better bill than the Senate side, despite the fact that it still allows for data mining of Americans. I agree with main highlight she cites from it as well:
The highlight of the hearing, though, was a speech that Mel Watt made. He talked about how, in the days after 9/11, he thought, “Well, if AG Ashcroft is protecting me from terrorists, who’s protecting me from AG Ashcroft?” He went on to bemoan the fact that there was no one like Bob Barr left on the Republican side. “I long for the day that somebody on your side of the aisle and remember that it was you that stood for individual rights at one point in your party’s history.”
The lack of Republican support for civil liberties was apparent throughout the markup, as Julian Sanchez of the CATO Institute chronicled throughout his live tweeting. Rep. Lamar Smith in particular was egregious with his lies and distortions, which inspired our ongoing retweeting campaign relaying:
@LamarSmithTX21 is willing to give up liberty for security. How un-American! #patriotact http://act.ly/Res
However, the main campaign response from the Get FISA Right side is our decision to make some major headway on our open letter to President Obama. We will be collaboratively editing it together in a Google doc at 6:30 PST/9:30 PST tonight, and encourage as much participation as possible as we commence this crowdsourced project!
We will have much more to support as we further analyze what happened today and undoubtedly what happens tomorrow, so stay tuned—much more to come!