To the editor:
I am writing to encourage all members of our community to call Rep. Todd Young and ask him to support H.R. 3361 and to call Dan Coats and Joe Donnelly to ask them to support S. 1599.
The government claims authority under the Patriot Act to collect a record of every phone call made by every single American “on an ongoing daily basis,” as well as financial transactions, health care transactions and even library transactions. GOP Rep. James Sensenbrenner has introduced the USA Freedom Act to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and increase government transparency.
It is not hard to see how some of these programs have already been mismanaged. For example, an article in the Washington Post detailed how the intelligence community violated restrictions on surveillance powers thousands of times a year in the past five years. Government analysts are also paid to try and infiltrate online games of all things, even though separate government analysis has shown the ineffective usage of resources, which this is.
Sensenbrenner, who was the lead author of the Patriot Act, introduced the act to end bulk collection of Americans’ communications records, reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and enhance government visibility. This bill stands in contrast to a bill from Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein, which would not stand as strongly for reform.
Just because the government has the power to do something, it does not mean it is good policy for the citizens of that country for the government to follow through on those actions. A federal judge recently wrote “the author of the Constitution, James Madison, ... would be aghast” at the NSA’s surveillance program and that “the almost-Orwellian technology” the government uses is likely invalid. Secret programs, secret law and secret courts have no place in the free experiment of American democracy.
Again, I strongly encourage all members of our community to call Rep. Todd Young’s office, 202-225-5315, and ask him to support H.R. 3361 and to call Dan Coats at 202-224-5623 and Joe Donnelly at 202-224-4814 to ask them to support S. 1599.