Ron Paul – The Revolution: A Manifesto – Page 113 through Page 117

Page 113: It is still unclear what the real motivation was for the warrantless wire-tapping program. The American people have been assured that the federal government is benevolent and was only acting in the best interest of the citizenry. Thomas Jefferson warned against having too much confidence in men. It is much better to keep them honest by forcing compliance with the constitution. This is not the first time the American government has been accused of abusing surveillance powers. Senators were criticizing the excessive surveillance power granted to the federal government as early as 1975. Government officials have always remained tight-lipped when asked to disclose specific details about the programs and under what authority they claim such powers.      

Page 114: Alberto Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary committee in February 2006. When asked if the administration had wire-tapped strictly domestic calls without warrants, Gonzales replied “Not under the program in which I’m testifying.” Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Deputy Attorney General James Comey were so offended by activities that took place between September 11, 2001 and March 2004, that they threatened to quit if the activities continued. The Patriot Act is actually written to apply more to American citizens than to foreign terrorists. 

Quote: “What exactly was the executive branch up to that caused so much dissent even among its own loyalists? Who was victimized during this time? Why are we not hearing the answers-or even the questions?”

Page 115: The government’s power to spy on citizens has increased greatly while the safeguards to protect citizens have been greatly reduced.  There is no evidence that the powers given in the Patriot Act would have prevented the tragedy of September 11, 2011. In fact, there is ample evidence that the government should have known that attacks on American soil were being planned. It wasn’t a lack of power to spy on Americans that caused the government to prevent the attack, but rather government ineptitude. The Patriot Act violates the constitutional protection against warrantless search and seizure. It is unconstitutional for Americans to be searched on the basis of warrants issued by secret military courts. Even worse is the power of the government to search Americans based on “national security letters” written by the Attorney General.  

Quote: “We know now that plenty of red flags that should have alerted officials to the hijackers’ plot were ignored. That was a matter of government ineptness, not a lack of surveillance power. Our officials had the evidence. They simply failed to act on it.”

Page 116: The government should always have to show probable cause for a warrant to be issued. This would not interfere with terrorist investigations. The government would still have plenty of resources for keeping an eye on noncitizens who are terror suspects.  The requirement of probable cause need not slow down terror investigations. Emergency courts can quickly issue warrants when the matter is urgent. Provisions can be made for situations in which there is no time to obtain a warrant. In fact, requiring a warrant may help law enforcement to focus their attention on the most important cases. Once specific powers are given to the government, they are almost never taken away. Many officials who support the increased level of government power today opposed the very same powers under the Clinton administration.

Page 117: As a senator during the Clinton administration, John Ashcroft spoke out against the same government invasions of privacy that he now apparently supports. Ashcroft spoke out specifically against the Clinton administration’s desire to monitor all domestic and international computer communication. He argued that if this power was granted, it could easily lead to further invasions of privacy such as government gaining access to private ATM records and medical information. Many republicans who now support the Patriot Act were jealous defenders of civil liberties during the Clinton administration.

 Quote (John Ashcroft): “Nevertheless, there is no reason to hand Big Brother the keys to unlock our e-mail diaries, open our ATM records, read our medical records, or translate our international communications….The implications here are far-reaching, with impacts that touch individual users, companies, libraries, university teachers, and students.”

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