It galls me to write anything approving of a Republican let alone one named after Ayn Rand who is buckets full of crazy but sometimes, even in D.C., reality creeps in.
Folks, we live in a spy state culture that equals anything Orwell imagined and the Stasi implemented. They spy on us not because we are terrorists or terrorist sympathizers, but so they can blackmail us into snitches on our friends, neighbors, and family.
I have fought for several years now to end the illegal spying of the NSA on ordinary Americans. The callous use of general warrants and the disregard for the Bill of Rights must end. Forcing us to choose between our rights and our safety is a false choice and we are better than that as a nation and as a people. That’s why two years ago, I sued the NSA. It’s why I proposed the Fourth Amendment Protection Act. It’s why I have been seeking for months to have a full, open and honest debate on this issue- a debate that never came.
So last week, seeing proponents of this illegal spying rushing toward a deadline to wholesale renew this unconstitutional power, I filibustered the bill. I spoke for over 10 hours to call attention to the vast expansion of the spy state and the corresponding erosion of our liberties.
Then, last week, I further blocked the extension of these powers and the Senate adjourned for recess rather than stay and debate them.
Tomorrow, we will come back with just hours left before the NSA illegal spying powers expire. Let me be clear: I acknowledge the need for a robust intelligence agency and for a vigilant national security.
I believe we must fight terrorism, and I believe we must stand strong against our enemies. But we do not need to give up who we are to defeat them. In fact, we must not. There has to be another way. We must find it together.
So tomorrow, I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program.
I am ready and willing to start the debate on how we fight terrorism without giving up our liberty.
Sometimes when the problem is big enough, you just have to start over. The tax code and our regulatory burdens are two good examples.
Fighting against unconditional, illegal powers that take away our rights, taken by previous Congresses and administrations is just as important.
I do not do this to obstruct. I do it to build something better, more effective, more lasting, and more cognizant of who we are as Americans.
Ugh. I stand with Rand. I am now taking a very long shower, maybe two.