Ron Paul praised two landmark votes in Congress that could mark a turning
point in the battle to protect civil liberties threatened by the Patriot
Act. Paul has been an outspoken critic of the Patriot Act since its
hasty passage in the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The
Act endangers civil liberties by easing federal rules for search warrants,
allowing warrantless searches in some instances, allowing expanded wiretaps
and internet monitoring, and even allowing federal agents to examine
library and bookstore records. Yet despite these serious constitutional
questions, few if any members of Congress read the 500-page Patriot
Act prior to voting on it!
the House of Representatives recently passed two amendments to the annual
Justice department funding bill that show many in Congress are having
second thoughts about the Patriot Act.
sponsored by Congressman Butch Otter of Idaho and cosponsored by Paul,
denies funding for the Justice department to execute so-called "sneak
and peek" warrants authorized by the Patriot Act. "Sneak and
peek" warrants enable federal authorities to search a person's
home, office, or personal property without the person's knowledge!
This secrecy upsets decades of legal precedent requiring that an individual
be served with a warrant before a search. The House voted overwhelmingly
not to fund this overzealous federal police practice.
also unanimously passed an amendment prohibiting funds for the Justice
department to force libraries and bookstores to turn over records of
books read by their patrons. Librarians around the country have led
the charge against this provision in the Patriot Act, arguing that Americans
have always been free to read whatever they choose without being monitored