A New Jersey Democrat and U.S. Senate candidate introduced legislation on Wednesday that would repeal the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act.
Rep. Rush Holt, a rocket scientist, explained to RT the two laws have allowed the federal government to conduct massive domestic surveillance operations. Though he admitted his Surveillance State Repeal Act was a long shot, he was encouraged that a large minority in the House had voted to defund the NSA.
“There is a strong interest in Congress and around the country to have the debate that we have not had for decades,” Holt explained.
Holt voted in favor of the Patriot Act in 2001. He said it was one of his greatest regrets as a congressman. The legislation was prompted by fears of terrorist cells within the United States, but it later became clear that such fears were overblown.
The most controversial provisions of the Patriot Act allow authorities to conduct surveillance without identifying the person or location to be wiretapped, permit surveillance of non-U.S. persons who are not affiliated with a terrorist group, and give law enforcement the power to gain access to “any tangible thing” during terrorism investigations.
The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 gave the government broad powers to monitor international communications. The law also granted legal immunity to telecommunication companies that had participated in the the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program prior to 2008.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by RT, below:
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