Sunday night, leading up to the expiration of the Patriot Act, U.S. Representative Thomas Massie joined Host Matthew Boyle on Breitbart News’ Sunday radio program to discuss implications of the deadline passing and what to expect in the days ahead.
Massie started out by detailing for the listening audience his three main takeaways from the Patriot Act’s expiration.
One: the urgency to get something passed before the Patriot Act expired goes away “by definition” with the expiration of the Act. He says that “opens the debate back up.”
Two, said Massie: Senator Paul’s (R-KY) objections will be overridden and Congress will pass the Freedom Act, which he called a “placebo.” He said approximately 88 members of the House have voted against the Freedom Act, calling it a “thin veneer of reform over re-authorization of the Patriot Act.” He said he, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) have been arguing that the House should be able to amend the Act, not just the Senate.
Third of all, Massie pointed to something that he said happened Sunday night. According to Massie, some of the Senators who previously voted against the Freedom Act did so because they do not want any reform. However, he said, they voted to push the Freedom Act through Sunday night.
“When this program expires tonight, can we expect the NSA to shut down their mass collection of data?” asked Boyle.
“We fall back to the Constitution,” Massie said, “Law enforcement can still collect data, they just need a warrant and probable cause as is prescribed in the Fourth Amendment,” which, Massie emphasized, is not a tough hurdle.
Boyle referenced the role execution of general warrants played in the American Revolution.
You have to prove to a judge that you have probable cause, said Massie. He stated that initially government justified the mass data collection program in the name of terrorism by the government. “They wrote a single warrant that covered every American and that’s not constitutional.” You have to mention the person to be searched under the Fourth Amendment, Massie stated.
“We did fight the Revolutionary War over this,” said Massie. He reminded the listening audience of a story about John Adams in his early days as a lawyer who would later become President of the United States. He said Adams was present during a major 1761 court case which resulted from King George III triying to execute a blanket renewal of warrants from King George II. Fifteen years later, Adams wrote to his wife saying the Revolution was born in that courtroom.
Massie said the single warrant issued in the FISA court is a similarly massive general warrant. He emphasized the need to protect the requirement of probable cause to monitor a U.S. citizen’s phone records.
Since Massie was having dinner with Senator Rand Paul and Rep. Justin Amash Sunday evening, Boyle asked what it was that has Massie backing Paul in the 2016 Presidential election.
Massie emphasized the need to run a new face for President in 2016 with a fresh, smaller government, more individual liberty message. It’s amazing the spectrum of people Rand appeals to, said Massie.
Boyle asked Massie how grassroots citizens around the country can most effectively get involved in the fight over the Patriot Act.
“Don’t write a letter, don’t send an email, pick up the phone, dial the number for your Congressman or Senator. Let them know that there’s gonna be heck to pay if they do not respect the Constitution in this vote that comes up,” Massie responded.
Massie referenced the vote that will come up this week in the Senate and that could return to the House. “Tell them not to renew the Patriot Act. Tell them the Freedom Act does not go far enough. It’s a thin veneer of reform and you want them to vote for the Constitution.”
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