Neocons in the Senate are furious. Rand Paul last week filibustered the NSA’s eavesdropping program into at least temporary oblivion. It sank into the sunset on Sunday night. It had to be renewed before midnight. It wasn’t.
The NSA saw it coming. On Sunday afternoon, it pulled the order from America’s phone companies to supply it with our phone calls. It finally stopped listening in.
Americans in some rural areas suffered from party lines well into the 1970’s. Snoopers on the line could listen in on everyone’s phone calls — and did. They loved to be on the inside, even if there was not much going on.
That was what the NSA was doing to all of us until Sunday afternoon. And the NSA was getting paid by the taxpayers to do it.
The snoopers in rural America did not record the calls they listened in on. The NSA did.
Now Congresspersons and Senators must go on the record to restore the NSA’s privileges. They must vote to re-authorize the snooping. They must identify themselves as “friends of NSA snooping.” That’s why they are hopping mad. They don’t want the publicity.
John McCain is furious. He told the media that Paul places “a higher priority on his fundraising and his ambitions than on the security of the nation.”
Candidate Rick Santorum is furious. “Hopefully, Rand Paul won’t prevail. … The Senate will do what it must do, which is to keep our defenses up.” That means passing a pro-NSA eavesdropping bill for Obama to sign into law.
Candidate Scott Walker is furious. “I think people want balance, they want protection when it comes to civil liberties, but I think those are clearly things that are addressed in renewing the Patriot Act.”
Not yet official candidate Jeb Bush is furious. “What I admire most about my brother was he kept us safe. And I believe people will respect him for a long time because of that.”
Later, rank-and-file Republican senators went to extraordinary lengths to dissociate themselves from Paul’s decision to force a lapse in the NSA’s program of bulk phone record collection and other surveillance methods.
When he got up to speak, they walked out of the Senate chamber en masse to emphasize their disagreement.
The neocons may try to amend a snooping bill to the so-called USA Freedom Act today. We’ll see if they are successful in getting an amended bill through Congress.
Note: The USA Freedom Act is pro-NSA. George Orwell’s newspeak is the language of Congress.
(For the full story on Paul’s victory on Sunday, click the link.)