Blumenauer on a Decade of the USA PATRIOT Act
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the USA PATRIOT Act. In 2001, I voted against this bad legislation and have also voted against subsequent extensions. Now, a decade later, there are still serious questions about the need for such broad intelligence gathering authority.
The Patriot Act is set to expire in June of 2015. It's time for a more accountable approach that balances individual privacy with our national defense.
When families are struggling and our economy is barely moving, the US Government spends close to $80 billion a year on a sprawling intelligence bureaucracy. Over 4.2 million Americans hold security clearances. And of those 4.2 million total, the number who hold top-secret clearances is over 1.4 million. That's as many people who live in San Antonio, the seventh largest city in America.
We should redirect these resources towards things that truly protect American families and their individual privacy, and to efforts that help communities become more economically secure.
On this 10th anniversary of the USA PATRIOT Act, it is my hope that we can work with the administration to limit the scope of how the PATRIOT Act is used as well as highlight the opportunity for its reform in Congress.