It’s feeling like we should have a weekly section for “kudos to Senator Ron Wyden.” Each week he seems to be the only major elected public official who seems to actually be fighting for the people, rather than for greater power for corporations and government. His latest is that he seems to be one of the few elected officials who are actually pushing for real debate about the “sunsetted” Patriot Act provisions. As you may recall, Congress has been rubber stamping extensions to the three provisions, which allow for very broad surveillance with very little oversight. Each time they extend the provisions, they claim there hasn’t been enough time to debate the provisions, so we should just push it out again. But then no debate actually happens. It looks like Senator Wyden is looking to fix that:
[The Patriot Act] was written and passed six weeks after the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history. Congress wisely included sunset dates for the Patriot Act’s most controversial provisions, so that they could be thoughtfully considered at a later time. After ten years, it is clearly time for that debate.”
I’d argue it’s well past the time for that debate, but that’s a minor quibble. Wyden is also pushing for legislation that narrows the surveillance provisions of the Patriot Act and further protects our Fourth Amendment rights.