Thu Dec 27, 2012, 05:14 PM
Enrique (27,320 posts)
Wyden on Senate floor: FISA’s ‘general warrants’ are like the ‘Writs of Assistance’ the founding fat
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) today opened debate into the renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments by allowing one of the statute’s most vocal critics, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), to opine about the “the constitutional teeter-totter, with the security and well-being of all of us on this side and individual liberties on this side” that the Senate must weigh in the course of the debate.
Wyden began his remarks with a history lesson of the nation’s early days, when British authorities issued “Writs of Assistance” to allow constables and customs officers to search any house or building in an effort to eliminate colonists’ tax-avoiding smuggling. “The problem, of course, is if you let government officials search any house that they want, they’re going to search through the houses of a lot of people who haven’t broken any laws,” Wyden said. But, he noted, “The colonists said it’s just not okay to go around invading people’s privacy unless you’ve got some specific evidence that they’d done something wrong,” and “The fact that English officials went around invading people’s privacy without any evidence against them was one of the fundamental complaints the American colonists had against the British government” prior to the Revolutionary War.
“So naturally,” he said, “our founding fathers with the wisdom they showed on so many matters made it clear that they wanted to address this particular complaint when they wrote the bill of rights.” In fact, Wyden offered, “ was a direct rejection of the authority that the British had claimed to have when they ruled the American colonies: the founding fathers said that our government does not have the right to search any house that government officials want to search, even if it helps them to do their job.”
“For more than 200 years,” Wyden added, “this fundamental principle has protected Americans’ privacy while still allowing our government to enforce the law and protect public safety.”
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Wyden on Senate floor: FISA’s ‘general warrants’ are like the ‘Writs of Assistance’ the founding fat (Original post)
|rhett o rick||Dec 2012||#2|