On Thursday (Jan 11th) this week, the House will vote to reauthorize the soon to be expired Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. Section 702 is intended to allow US intelligence agencies to spy on foreigners under the supervision of the FISA court. Many people agree that Section 702 has been an important and useful tool in the fight against terrorism. Unfortunately, the law’s implementation has been twisted beyond Congress’s original intent to allow for warrentless collection and searches of Americans’ communications.
This is a follow-up to my previous post about AG Jackley’s Legalized Extortion bill. My original article was written just after Senate Bill 25 had passed the Senate with little opposition. At that time, the bill appeared to be well on its way to the Governor’s office. Then, something unexpected happened.
When the bill came up for consideration in house committee, Jackley offered an amendment to the bill such that it would only be applicable to felony arrests. In short, Jackley listened to the concerns expressed by the bill’s opponents, and then attempted to balance those concerns with the needs of the proponents.
The Noem campaign recently sent an email to their mailing list titled, “Not One Bit”, in which Noem claims that she’s the same person now as when she first went to Washington, DC. I often lament that Noem isn’t the representative that she used to be, and I suspect many South Dakotans feel the same way or Noem wouldn’t have sent that email.
When Noem went to Washington as a Tea Party favorite, she was committed to reigning in wasteful federal spending that puts future generations of South Dakotans at risk. In her first year in Congress, Noem and her freshman class bucked the establishment Republicans and managed to pass the Budget Control Act. What’s more, that was done with Democrats in control of the Senate and the White House. From 2011-2013, Noem issued 17 press releases regarding federal spending and the debt. Hear are a few quotes from 2011-2013:
Over the last few days, Kristi Noem has been sponsoring some Trump inspired fear and anger campaign ads to goat people into signing up for her campaign’s mailing list. The first up from two days ago:
In it, I see the Northeastern United States, a passenger jet pointed downward, and a masked Middle Eastern fighter. It’s clearly aimed at portraying refugees as terrorists and eliciting memories of Sept 11, 2001.
Today, there’s an updated ad:
Now we see the entire country, no more Middle Eastern fighter, and the airplane is no longer pointed to the ground. Why the change? Your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps Noem realized that refugees are actually the victims of terrorism.
For years, Kristi Noem has been campaigning against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare); primarily due to the ever increasing cost of insurance. And now that Republicans finally have the majority to get things done, they’re squandering that opportunity by attempting to replace it with more of the same.
Health care costs were rapidly increasing even before Obamacare, and it’s the ever increasing cost of health care that is hurting South Dakotans. Obamacare tried and failed to stem the rising cost of insurance, and I just don’t see how the Republican plan will be any different.
At the request of Attorney General Jackley, Senate Bill 25 would make any criminal booking photograph a public record. AG Marty Jackley says of the bill:
“The release of criminal booking photographs to the public will result in greater transparency in the criminal process, enhance public safety, and will further assist the media and the public in the proper identification of individuals in the criminal process,”
The facts of the matter, are that this bill is full of unintended consequences:
Last month Rep. Kristi Noem voted against a bi-partisan amendment that would have required the government to seek a warranty prior to querying the internet data of American citizens. Opponents of the bill politicized the Orlando tragedy in order to defeat the amendment which had passed the previous two years.
Rep. Noem has a mixed track record on this amendment. She voted yes three years ago, and then has voted no the last two years. I sent a letter asking why she changed her vote, but I never received a reply. I’m speculating that Rep. Noem has been influenced in part from the intense lobbying from the FBI and intelligence community regarding this amendment. After all, the FBI would rather not bother with judicial oversight and warrants.
Just yesterday, Rep. Kristi Noem voted in favor of the deceptive H.R. 5606: Anti-terrorism Information Sharing Is Strength Act. Fortunately, the bill failed. As Republican Rep. Justin Amash put it, “… H.R. 5606 will permit the government to demand information on any American from any financial institution merely upon reasonable suspicion.” Reasonable suspicion by the way, is the same legal standard federal officials used when needlessly strip searching a teen-age Sturgis girl.
H.R. 5606 is deceptive in that it’s not really about stopping terrorists. Section 314 of the Patriot Act already allows law enforcement to seek financial records of suspected terrorists and money launderers. H.R. 5606 allows law enforcement to seek financial records based on the low “reasonable suspicious” standard for any matter of crime, all without a search warrant/judicial oversight.
Just days after voting down several gun related bills in defense of the Second Amendment, Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds voted to undermine the Fourth Amendment and grant the FBI the power to gather transaction email, chat, and web browsing data without a warrant or judicial oversight via National Security Letters (NSL). Senator Rounds even co-sponsored the measure.
Republicans are taking advantage of the shooting tragedy in Orlando to push the measure, but as noted in the Christian Science Monitor:
Though I am a life long Republican, I’m not a big fan of John Thune. I tend to prefer the more constitutionally aligned Republican’s such as Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul. I think of Thune as a Surveillance State Republican. He’s happy to give up our Fourth Amendment rights when anyone in an intelligence agency says it might help stop a terrorist. I fear rattle snakes, mountain lions, and cows more than I fear terrorists, and I’d just as soon keep my constitutional rights.