Rutherford Institute Warns Senate That USA FREEDOM Act Will Do More Damage Than Good, Calls for More Effective Restraints on NSA Surveillance

From John Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute
Calling the expiration of Section 215 of the Patriot Act, cited as the legal authority for the National Security Agency’s (NSA) domestic surveillance program, an historic opportunity to not only end the government’s unconstitutional practice but rein in the NSA, The Rutherford Institute is cautioning the United States Senate against adopting the proposed USA FREEDOM Act as a legislative solution because it could do more damage than good.

In a letter urging members of the U.S. Senate to take action to stop the pervasive surveillance of citizens by the government, Rutherford Institute president John W. Whitehead points out that the USA FREEDOM Act would actually reauthorize Section 215 of the Patriot Act while failing to end other programs the government is using to collect information about individuals without a warrant. Moreover, Whitehead points out that the USA FREEDOM Act does not prevent government surveillance; it merely delegates it to communication services providers.

“While the USA FREEDOM Act has been hailed as a step in the right direction, it amounts to little more than a paper tiger: threatening in appearance, but lacking any real bite. Indeed, the Act endangers the cause of citizen privacy by creating a false impression that Congress has taken steps to prevent the government from spying on the telephone calls of citizens, while in fact ensuring the NSA’s ability to continue invading the privacy and security of Americans,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People. “As long as government agencies are allowed to make a mockery of the law—be it the Constitution, the FISA Act or any other law intended to limit their reach and curtail their activities—and are permitted to operate behind closed doors, relaying on secret courts, secret budgets and secret interpretations of the laws of the land, there can be no true reform.”
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