On Friday, the National Security Agency (NSA), which has played a primary role in the United States government’s mass surveillance program exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, disclosed it had collected 534 million phone calls and text messages of Americans in 2017 — more than three times the amount it collected the year before. But, what about the USA FREEDOM Act that the US Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law in 2015? There was much fanfare when the USA FREEDOM Act was enacted and during its consideration in Congress that the legislation’s “reform” would impose major new restraints on the mass surveillance program in order to defend liberty and privacy.
It turns out Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano called it right in a video commentary soon after the legislation was enacted in June of 2015. The Ron Paul Institute Advisory Board member and former New Jersey state judge had reviewed the legislation and determined it just established “a very slight difference in the manner” by which information would be acquired in the ongoing mass surveillance program. He even pointed out that the NSA was so comfortable with the bill’s reform that it had dispatched hundreds of agents to lobby Congress to approve it. In short, the USA FREEDOM Act, Napolitano concluded, was not a real check on the expansive US government surveillance power that many Americans oppose. Instead, it was a ruse that made people think a problem was being solved when, in fact, the problem was being allowed to continue unhindered.
Reprinted with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.