(By Deutsche Welle) America responded to 9/11 by expanding surveillance through the Patriot Act. Since Edward Snowden’s revelations, the nation has largely recanted. The debate is now about a Freedom Act. Spencer Kimball reports.
Only one senator voted against the Patriot Act in the frantic weeks following the devastating terrorist attacks on New York and Washington DC.
“This is an enormous expansion of authority, under a law that provides only minimal judicial supervision,” Russ Feingold declared during his speech on the floor of Senate.
At the time, first responders were still retrieving more than 2,000 corpses from the rubble of the World Trade Center, which had been renamed “Ground Zero.” A network of Islamist radicals led by Osama bin Laden had launched the worst attack on American soil since the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
Feingold, a Democrat from Wisconsin, was voted out of office in 2010. But in the fourteenth year post 9/11, the tide has turned in America.
Even the Patriot Act’s father now opposes the most controversial provision of the law. Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, claims he never intended for the now infamous Section 215 to permit the bulk collection of Americans’ call records.
“This program is illegal and based on a blatant misinterpretation of the law,” Sensenbrenner said after a federal appeals court had ruled against the program in early May.