Hi gang. Just wanted to make a quick comment of the provisions of the Patriot Act that just expired and provide a view or two on what I think of that expiration. Three different provisions were allowed to expire (not without debate) but I only want to focus on the one that I felt should have been allowed to expire without a fight. I’m speaking of Section 206.
Section 206 of the Patriot Act, provides for roving wiretap surveillance of targets who try to thwart Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance. Without such roving wiretap authority, investigators would be forced to seek a new court order each time they need to change the location, phone or computer that needs to be monitored.
I personally have a small problem with wiretaps being obtained without a court order. If the wiretap is valid and has just legal cause, there is no reason the court system, which acts as the check and balance in this case, can not be involved. If there needs to be a process to make this happen more quickly, then I am all for it, but for them to want to completely cut the court out is questionable in my opinion. There isn’t any reason these court orders can’t be sealed and private, and as I stated, with today’s technology I’m sure they could find a way to expedite the process if it is a matter of how quickly it needs to happen. The thing is, when you attempt to cut the courts and their role out, I feel you step into a dangerous arena where no one is making sure these wiretaps are being done legally, for the right purpose, and without violating a citizens civil rights.
To those who would disagree with me, I would challenge them to give one good reason that these surveillance issues need to be secret from the court system. I don’t have a problem with the public having no knowledge but the courts? It just seems to be a dangerous precedent, regardless of who is being tapped.