December 16, 2015
Most of the people who watched the GOP debate last night were likely sure of two things when they heard Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Chris Christie argue the government needs the power to snoop in this digital age and Sen. Rand Paul and, to a lesser extent, Sen. Ted Cruz, arguing that the U.S. Bill of Rights protects us from such unwarranted searches.
First, everyone agrees we must do what we can to prevent terrorists from killing us. This is why just after September 11, 2001 the Patriot Act passed 357 to 66 in the U.S. House of Representatives (with 145 Democratic votes) and 98 to 1 in the U.S. Senate. Still, don’t assume the act was written in a few days. The Patriot Act was actually a massive conglomeration of previously written bills. A large portion of the Patriot Act was taken from the “Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995,” a bill sponsored by then Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) after the Oklahoma City bombing. The bill had failed to make it to President Bill Clinton’s desk, even though Clinton supported it. This debate has been going on a long time.
Second, after people think a moment, they don’t want the government snooping on them. They simply want the government snooping on terrorists.
Balancing these two needs is the crux of the debate, but unfortunately this debate quickly descends into a big lie and a heap of wonky gibberish from complex bills and even more complex U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
Read the full article at Forbes.com: Which GOP Candidate Is Right About NSA Surveillance?