Last week, Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), introduced bipartisan legislation, H.R. 1466, to completely repeal the PATRIOT act. The bill would reform the National Security Agency (NSA), and dramatically revamp America’s overall espionage apparatus and posture.
Aptly named the Surveillance State Repeal Act, the bill, if enacted, would be the single biggest legislative check against the unwarranted government overreach and draconian surveillance of Americans that has transpired subsequent the events of 9/11, while at the same time restoring our civil liberties.
The bill would also give whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, who exposed the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance in 2013, additional protections under the law.
“Really, what we need are new whistleblower protections so that the next Edward Snowden doesn’t have to go to Russia or Hong Kong or whatever the case may be just for disclosing this,” Rep. Massie said.
The PATRIOT Act was passed as a fear-based reaction to the events of 9/11 and gave the federal government an unprecedented amount of power to monitor the private communications of U.S. citizens without a warrant. This law is a clear violation of the 4th Amendment, yet it has been allowed to transform our republic into something almost unrecognizable.
The Surveillance State Repeal Act would prohibit the government from collecting information on U.S. citizens obtained through private communications without a warrant. In addition, it would also mandate that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provide monitoring of domestic surveillance programs to ensure compliance with the law.