The Patriot Act has been surrounded by a cloud of fear-mongering since it was reintroduced almost immediately after the 9/11 attacks and rushed through Congress, without any finding that the sweeping new powers granted by the act had anything to do with the problems and failures that contributed to that attack.
At the heart of the issue has been confusion between giving the authorities surveillance powers, and giving them unchecked surveillance powers. Much of what the Patriot Act did was to remove independent judges from oversight over invasions of privacy conducted in the name of law enforcement and national security.
Two Bush administration officials, former National Security Administration (NSA) director and former CIA director Michael V. Hayden and former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, continued that tradition of inaccuracy and fear-mongering in an op-ed published last week in the Washington Post. In their piece, they target a modest piece of legislation proposed by Se
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