As we go through this brief extension in three of the more controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, which give law enforcement tremendous leeway in spying on people with very little oversight, there have been some hearings about those provisions. At a recent Senate Judiciary Hearing about this, FBI director Robert Mueller was asked if any of the three provisions had been found to be abused. Mueller responded, "I'm not aware of any." However, as the EFF notes, it has clear evidence of the roving wiretap being abused, which it found via some FOIA documents. Tellingly, when it requested info about Patriot Act violations, it received heavily redacted info. However, via a different FOIA request, it received other information that, when combined with the first FOIA request, reveals a clear abuse by the FBI. Separately, the EFF points out that (former) Senator Russ Feingold indicated at a hearing in 2009 that he had seen confidential evidence of abuse:
"I recall during the debate in 2005 that proponents of Section 215 argued that these authorities had never been misused. They cannot make that statement now. They have been misused. I cannot elaborate here. But I recommend that my colleagues seek more information in a classified setting."On top of that, they point to a 2007 report (pdf) from the Office of the Inspector General at the Justice Dept, which notes two cases of the FBI abusing those 215 orders.
This raises some pretty serious questions. Is Director Mueller simply uninformed about his agency abusing these provisions? Or was he lying to Congress about those abuses? Neither case looks good, and neither suggests that we should renew those provisions.
Comment: My bet is that he is lying. Look around, the FBI has not found one credible terrorist since 9/11, only these knucklehead types that are essentially "entrapped" into saying something stupid. At the same time the FBI has doubled in size and capacity and again they still can't find any bad guys. To keep the dollars coming in Mueller like all government bureaucrats will do all they can, and that goes for lying, to keep the bureaucracy growing.
On top of that, consider how the White House has steadily lied to the US citizenry for decades about all the supposed nefarious bogeymen living in our midst. Does anyone other than the NEOCONs and Progressives really believe there is a "humanitarian" nightmare going on inside Libya?
Folks the lying inside the Beltway has become as rampant as it was in the former Soviet Union. The only difference is that the Soviet citizen knew it was going on, while today Americans prefer to be comfortably numb.
And this is why moving the repeal of the 17th Amendment forward has been so difficult: Americans simply want to be left to keep their head in the sand and not recognize the problems swirling around them. So as long as the States are prevented from participating in the Federal Government, folks like Mueller and Obama will continue to steadily lie to the American people because there is no recompense involved with lying to us.