You have to admire the names our legislators concoct for their bills. The Patriot Act, now The USA Freedom Act, sailed through the House with 338 votes (from NJ only Bonnie Watson Coleman, Frank Pallone and Scott Garrett opposed it). To make the bill, filled with positives and negatives, more palatable it ends the dragnet surveillance of the bulk telephone program. It was filibustered in the Senate (a filibuster opposed by Robert Menendez and Cory Booker.) This result left the White House in a panic because the wellspring of broad NSA and FBI domestic spying powers will expire on Sunday unless congress acts by then.
Now our Patriot Governor, supporter of freedom, has wade into the matter. Christie said this week, “We can protect our civil liberties and protect our homeland.” He added that his likely rivals have not pointed to a single violation against innocent citizens under the controversial program. Perhaps he and his rivals should talk to librarians who have been accosted by FBI agents with no warrant demanding to see records of what books a specific individual has borrowed. And how many billions of data have been collected on innocent American telephone calls?
Yes, Christie probably knows more about the measure’s effectiveness than his rivals because he used it as New Jersey’s U.S. Attorney. However, he over-simplifies the issue with over-the-top, misleading statements like “You can’t enjoy your civil liberties if you’re in a coffin.” Setting up a straw man and using scare tactics does not a good president make. I can think of some very nice countries to move to were he to become our president.