The sunset clause came and went on the Patriot Act, largely due to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). What does this mean for us, the regular American citizens? For the next couple of weeks the NSA won’t have the sweeping surveillance power that it enjoyed post-9/11. Those in Washington say that this opens us up to security threats. But others say that those political pundits are just using fear to scare us into giving up our civil liberties.
This is why I am happy Rand Paul has done what he has done. Yes, I know that he is making a big stink to help his presidential campaign. He is using his filibuster to raise money for his campaign. I don’t care. What I care about is that he is making people think about their civil liberties.
When Edward Snowden came forward with his information, the news media and most of Washington talked about how what he did was illegal and wrong, but lawmakers didn’t change the laws. Information was declassified and there were hearings, but laws didn’t change on a federal level until now.
This narrative isn’t over. While the Patriot Act has lapsed, the House of Representatives strongly passed the USA Freedom Act. This act has a lot of similarities with the Patriot Act, but limits data collection and adds judicial oversight. While Senator Paul says the USA Freedom Act doesn’t go far enough for his liking, I think the Senate will probably pass this bill when they meet again to speak about it sometime this week. Let’s see what happens as this story continues.