In the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Richard Durbin just offered an amendment to S. 1692, a bill reauthorizing Patriot Act surveillance powers. It would have only required that when national security letters (NSLs) are issued without constitutional warrants, they have to be limited to surveillance of those who are suspected terrorists, suspected spies, or people connected to suspected terrorists or spies. The Durbin Amendment, in short, would restrict the use of Patriot Act to its original stated purpose: combating terrorists.
Al Franken, with a visibly annoyed and loud “NO,” just used his seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote AGAINST the Durbin Amendment.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Al Franken, who used to ridicule George W. Bush and the Patriot Act from behind his microphone at Air America radio, cast a vote to let the government continue to use the Patriot Act to spy on innocent Americans without warrants, even when they aren’t suspected terrorists, even when they aren’t suspected spies, even when they have no connection at all to anybody who is a suspected terrorist or spy.
Al Franken: Big Brother’s big brother. Is that what you voted for, Minnesota?