WIRED, May 25, 2011
You may think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) says it’s worse than you’ve heard.
Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. But Wyden says that what Congress will renew is a mere fig leaf for a far broader legal interpretation of the Patriot Act that the government keeps to itself — entirely in secret. Worse, there are hints that the government uses this secret interpretation to gather what one Patriot-watcher calls a “dragnet” for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.
Phi Beta Iota: Further to our comment on Part I, we strongly believe the time has come to discontinue funding for the US Intelligence Community as a whole, beginning with the National Security Agency (NSA), which is in our view the most mis-managed and corrupt (as well as grotesquely expensive for lack of any reasonable return) part of the US Government. The fact that they are abusive of the Constitution and devoid of any common sense at all is the other half of their crime against humanity. An honest President actually interested in the public interest would create an Open Source Agency, and then on the basis of sound decision-support shareable with the public and Congress, cut the secret world as well as the defense and homeland security worlds by 20% each year for each of five years, restoring 10% each year to new initiatives that pass all common sense tests for need, relevance, and affordability. All it takes is INTEGRITY.