Senator Rand Paul is taking a lot of heat from establishment Conservatives and some in the media for his unwavering stand against the Patriot Act. The party line that is emerging says that we are now vulnerable to terrorist attack. Even Senator Paul, himself, said he was being accused of damaging America's defenses against such attacks.
These accusations are almost humorous considering that many of these same establishment Republicans have refused to force Barack Obama to enforce immigration laws. That fact now allows literally anyone who wants to harm our nation to cross over the border and to not only remain here, but also to receive tax payer benefits and perhaps even the right to vote. Reportedly, Obama is allowing people from the same Middle Eastern nations that give rise to terrorism to flood into our nation at horrific rates.
Newly announced presidential candidate Lindsey Graham is especially guilty of this let down in American security as he has pushed for policies to open our borders even further. So too have Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Has anyone accused them of damaging American national security?
The fact is Rand Paul is a defender of American security unlike any other candidate currently running to lead this nation. He's one of a very few to openly stand for the Constitutional rights of all Americans to be secure in their homes and free of government snooping into their private business.
The created hysteria over the Patriot Act being a guardian of our freedom is hog wash. This is the Patriot Act that was rushed into place just after a horrific terrorist attack -- 911. Of course the nation was scared and of course out went the cry -- "Do something NOW to protect us."
When introduced, we were assured by the Justice Department that the Patriot Act was simply to give federal law enforcement agencies the surveillance and investigative tools they needed to deter future terror attacks. However, the emotional rush to "do something" by quickly passing the Patriot Act, left little time for lawmakers to put its measures under scrutiny. In fact, then Congressman Ron Paul said he couldn't even get a copy of the Act before the vote.
As a result, provisions of the Act offered major opportunities for government abuses of law-abiding private citizens. The Act says that the government does not need to have a suspect or to even be conducting an investigation related to terrorism to monitor your visits into web sites on the Internet.
The Patriot Act changed the definition of terrorism, allowing even legitimate protestors, such as pro-life activists, to be at risk of being labeled "terrorists" if violence erupted at their events. And since its enactment, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has officially contracted with the Department of Homeland Security to create definitions of what and who constitute domestic terrorists. Just as predicted, that definition does not include Middle Eastern men connected with groups like Al-Qaeda or ISIS. Instead, in many official circles it has come to mean those Americans who demand that the United States government adhere to the U.S. Constitution.
The Patriot Act expands the capability to obtain warrants and conduct searches without disclosing them immediately. Under the Act, law enforcement can walk into your home and take records without your knowing they were there. If a warrant is obtained, you may never know about it. It doesn't even require a real judge to obtain one anymore.
The Act requires fuller identification of bank customers. A year before 9-11 more than 150,000 Americans protested these very provisions in a scheme by the FDIC called "Know Your Customer." Congressman Ron Paul wrote of the Know Your Customer plan, "Under these regulations, banks will be required to first create a profile of all new and current customers. The profile will include such information as their credit history and other standard financial reviews, but will be expanded to include the customer's deposit and withdrawal habits. This information will be gathered over the first few months of the account's creation. After that, any account activity that deviates from the profile will be considered suspicious behavior."
Rep. Paul went on to say, "Not only will 'unusual' deposits into your account trigger suspicion, but so too might large cash withdrawals." Privacy advocates were able to officially stop the Know Your Customer scheme. But most of its provisions returned in the Patriot Act. And just this year, 2015, the Justice Department announced its intention to carefully watch the activities of all Americans and their bank accounts by suggesting banks report anyone withdrawing at least $5000.
Under the Patriot Act, a special software was developed to help firms in 25 finance-related industries, covered by the law, to compare millions of customer records with thousands of entries on federal blacklists.
Businesses such as car dealers, insurance companies, investment brokers, lenders and real estate firms are required to file "Suspicious Activity Reports" to the Treasury Department.
Here's an interesting fact. The Patriot Act only mentions protecting our northern border. It says not a word about the southern one. Our southern border remains, absolutely wide open, allowing anyone to literally walk into this country. And the Obama Administration has used that loophole beyond what any normal American could have ever foreseen at the writing of the Act.
In the name of fighting terrorism, we have witnessed a new kind of government "urban sprawl" oozing out of Washington, D.C. into every back alley, bedroom, and underwear drawer in America.
In 2004 the Government Electronics and Information Technology Association (GEIA) reported that there were more than 100 federal entities involved in forging the largest conglomeration of government/private contractor interests since the creation of the Pentagon. GEIA represents hundreds of corporate members which had cashed in on the Homeland Security-citizen-surveillance-spending spree.
In September 2002, dozens of major high-tech companies formed the "Homeland Security Industries Association." A key objective of the association was to win a piece of the action for the creation of national ID cards for travelers.
Business Week reported that the SAS Institute was among many corporations scrambling to launch a whole new line of anti-money laundering software designed to help insurance companies, investment banks and brokerage firms spy on their clients' financial activities on behalf of the government in compliance with the Patriot Act.
Bert Ely, the head of a consulting company for financial institutions, warned that the anti-money laundering provisions of the Patriot Act would do nothing to stop the financing of international terrorists. At best, he said, the new provisions would actually provide evildoers with a road map to avoid detection.
What the Patriot Act provisions are really about, said Ely, is to have the United States fall into line with an international campaign being waged by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Financial Action Task Force against countries that serve as tax havens. It's all about tax collection!
Business Week also reported that private-sector software makers were racing to develop programs to zero in on gambling. Business Week noted that, "the feds have put casinos on notice that they're next in the line of security." Now, how many terrorists have actually raised their funds in Las Vegas?
In mid-September 2002, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Office of Homeland Security held an expo in Washington. Medium and small firms from across the nation were invited in to showcase the very latest in citizen surveillance wares.
The US Chamber of Commerce hired the former deputy assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff to act as a liaison between the chamber and businesses seeking homeland security contracts. PoliticalMoneyline reported that 444 groups and individuals had registered as lobbyists to deal with "terror" and "security" issues.
IBM has opened a "Government Solutions Center" in Vienna, Virginia. The high-tech Unisys Corporation established a similar exhibition for inspection by federal surveillance planners, called the "Homeland Security Center for Excellence."
Both corporations raced to cash in on billions of dollars for facial recognition systems at airports and, in anticipation of "trusted traveler" cards, a high-tech ID tied to extensive background checks and biometric identification.
So, in the name of fighting terrorism, America was saddled with a massive control over the actions of all Americans, yet it failed to foil even a single terrorist plot. What it did accomplish, however, was a massive buildup of government policing power, designed to keep tabs on every movement of the American people. In addition, the Patriot Act created massive financial opportunity for industries that produced surveillance equipment and software.
All of this is what Senator Paul was objecting to. This massive growth of government and the obvious loss of liberty that comes with it is what he was trying to stop.
Does it then come as a surprise that Senator Rand Paul has become public enemy #1 by establishment Republican hawks, big money Republican fund raisers, all big government proponents and their Patriot Act-dependent industries? As said in the landmark movie "Network," he has messed with the natural order of things."
Senator Rand Paul is a hero to all who value their liberty, personal privacy and private property rights. He is the only candidate now running for President to actually take positive action to try to preserve and protect our freedoms. He deserves the respect and support of all who claim to favor those liberties.
Tom DeWeese is one of the nation's leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence. Go to www.americanpolicy.org for more information