At face value this doesn’t look like a “bad thing”. However, if you stop to think about it, the Patriot act has been used as a “tool” to violate the rights of countless innocent American citizens. It is my belief that the Patriot Act needs to be revisited and rewritten in such a manner that not only makes it better, but does not violate The Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. Below is a letter I have sent to my Senators stating just that.
It is becoming known that the “Jobs Bill” now making its way through the Senate has a reauthorization of the Patriot Act included as an add on. It is my opinion and observation that there are many provisions in the Patriot Act which fly in the face of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. I would guess that the prevalent school of thought at the time being that the violation of the citizen’s rights is Ok as long as it is under the guise of “The war on terror”. This “war” has been going on since 9/11/01 to present, and in that time frame, many rights outlined in our founding documents have been violated and innocent people have been harmed, and continue to have their rights violated to this day. This all encompassing approach was adopted simply because “profiling” is not PC and the Federal Government does not want to appear to be discriminating against, or singling out a particular group of people.
In the almost 10 years since 911, the Federal Government has not only failed to bring this apparent “jihad” to an end, it is showing no signs of relenting or stopping, in spite of all the efforts and lives lost in this conflict. I am a career military man and it is my heartfelt belief that this “war” can be fought without violating the rights of the citizenry. The rule of law, as outlined in the Bill of Rights should be used in all instances to legally initiate and conduct the needed investigations of organizations and persons suspected of supporting, aiding and perpetrating these attacks. If there is evidentiary information that would lead to solid, legal “probable cause”, justifying an investigation, then the necessary steps and proper warrants can be obtained and steps then taken to gather further evidence pertinent to the suspected crime. Example, in nearby Portland Oregon, a local lawyer was unjustly investigated by the FBI because he was suspected of having some sort of ties to extremists, to which proved false and he was later absolved of all wrongdoing and subsequently the FBI was forced to acknowledge the fact that their over-reaching, over-zealous investigation was wrong and improper. This wrong was not acknowledged though until the damage to his life and business was done. This is the type of damage that is done to good people when a Law Enforcement Agency is allowed to act with impunity.
We are a nation of laws, Of the People, By the People and For the People. This is a fact that our founding documents detail. Our Founding Fathers took great pains to write these documents in such a manner as to “Guarantee” the rights of the citizenry because as stated in The Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Now, with all of this being said, I do believe that there may be some out of the ordinary tools needed to fight this war and keep America safe. I do believe however, that “in concept”, the Patriot Act was a good idea that now needs to be refined and redefined so that it becomes a truly good, useful, legal, Constitutional tool, that does not violate basic rights. I believe that the Patriot Act is so important by itself, that it should not be re-authorized simply as an “add-on” because it needs to be examined, debated and rewritten as a stand alone Bill. It should not be passed in the manner being attempted now and we voters in your District are watching your handling of this issue. I urge you to press for the removal of this add on from the “Jobs Bill” and move to have this single issue brought before the Senate in an open and transparent manner, thus legislating in the spirit and manner as intended by our Founding Fathers when they established our Representative form of governance “Of the People, By the People and For the People”.