Lamar Smith Fails To Deliver On Patriot Act Promise

When the House of Representatives extended the most unconstitutional search and seizure provisions of the Patriot Act last month, it was with the promise, made by Representative David Dreier, that the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, led by Representative Lamar Smith would begin scrutiny of the Patriot Act “as vigorously as possible.”

That promise was made two weeks ago now. Yet, the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security has still not scheduled even one hearing on the subject of the Patriot Act.

Lamar Smith is not delivering the vigorous action that was promised, and time is short. There’s less than three months now until the Patriot Act extension will be passed, and there are immense matters at stake that need serious, thorough investigation.

Among those matters:

President Obama has failed to nominate enough members to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to enable it to have the quorum it needs to begin inspections of the Patriot Act, as is required by law.

Patriot Act powers have used almost exclusively in cases that have nothing at all to do with terrorism. Why?

– The Electronic Frontier Foundation has uncovered tens of thousands of violations of the Patriot Act by the FBI

To adequately investigate these matters, Representative Lamar Smith needs to dedicate the full resources of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security,and he needs to begin the investigation now. Yet, it’s become clear that Smith has no intention of conducting any such investigation.

For that reason, on March 12, 2011 at Noon outside the west side of the U.S. Capitol, there will be a grassroots protest by Americans demanding repeal of the Patriot Act. If Congress won’t get serious about reforming the law, then the it needs to be abolished completely.

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