Tag Archives: USA PATRIOT Act

Governor Scott Walker Calls for Full Reauthorization of PATRIOT Act

A recent nationwide ABC News/Washington Post 2016 presidential primary preference poll found Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and US Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky tied at 11% atop the rest of the Republican field. According to The Hill, Governor Walker, a likely 2016 candidate and apparent co-frontrunner for the Republican nomination with Senator Paul, weighed in on the controversy over the USA PATRIOT Act’s expiring domestic surveillance provisions and the recently-signed USA FREEDOM Act during a Wednesday appearance on Fox and Friends.

I think we would be much better off if we fully reauthorized the PATRIOT Act. I think it’s an important tool… I certainly don’t want to be in the position that France is in where they’re now saying, ‘What could we have done?’” said Governor Walker, positioning himself opposite his top GOP rival Senator Paul, who forced the PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 bulk spying provision to expire last week after it was ruled illegal by a federal appeals court earlier in May.

When asked about the USA FREEDOM Act, which President Obama signed into law on Tuesday, Walker said, “I certainly prefer this over nothing. I just think going forward, and it’s another example of the failure of this president to lead, this is an example where the president could lead, could have used the bully pulpit to tell the American people how important it is to make sure we have the information to prevent another terrorist attack out there and this is one of the many tools we need to do that. I hope in the future we’ll reestablish the PATRIOT Act.

According to Congressman Justin Amash (R-MI), the USA FREEDOM Act outsources the National Security Agency’s unpopular bulk phone metadata collection program to telecom corporations, rather than having the NSA collect the data itself. Senator Rand Paul voted against the legislation, citing constitutional concerns. Presidential candidate and Senator Ted Cruz voted in favor of the bill, while 2016 candidate Senator Marco Rubio, a PATRIOT Act supporter, voted no.

ABC News notes that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, another possible 2016 contender, said sarcastically of the USA FREEDOM Act, “Exactly what we want to count on… We want to put our national security in the hands of the phone companies.” Governor Christie supports reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act instead.

During Governor Walker’s Fox and Friends interview, he said that, if he ends up running for president, he would not announce until the end of this month when his state’s budget is complete.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Federal Reserve Chair’s Neighbors Angered by Her Security Encampment

Ever since Janet Yellen took over as Chair of the Federal Reserve, life has changed for the other well-to-do residents of her Georgetown-area, Washington DC gated community. The Wall Street Journal notes that an armed encampment has formed outside of one of her neighbor’s houses in the Hillandale community, and the federal government is paying thousands per month to rent an adjacent town home, which had at one point been equipped with a massive, brightly-lit camera on the roof, peering down on disgruntled neighbors. 7,000 pound security trucks noisily plow through the neighborhood to pick her up each morning, spilling fluids on the street in violation of Hillandale’s rules.

Upset neighbors have penned a lengthy list of complaints about the uniformed, taxpayer-funded security detail. Vans full of armed police speed through Hillandale in violation of its 15 mile-per-hour speed limit, intimidating residents. Officers behave in an unprofessional manner, loudly socializing, smoking cigarettes, and scarfing down fast food. Also, the extreme visibility of the police presence offends other homeowners, who chose the neighborhood for its strict, privately-enforced rules aimed at keeping the community quiet and aesthetically pleasing. FBI Director Bob Mueller lives in the neighborhood as well, and his security detail stands in stark contrast to the one protecting Yellen. A neighbor who chose to remain anonymous out of fear of federal retaliation told The Wall Street Journal, “Bob Mueller, who you would think would have a much more dangerous job dealing with terrorists all over the world, had people who were businesslike, didn’t socialize and waited for him outside the gate. Now we have this group, overweight, wearing the most ridiculous blue uniforms with the most ridiculous blue caps, and they have guns that are visible.”

Some residents in the area are pushing for new rules to be adopted by the gated community to prevent security outfits from renting property in the neighborhood. The Hillandale Board and Covenant Committee maintains strict rules and enforces them on the other homeowners in the area in the interest of protecting property values, as homes in Hillandale sometimes sell for millions of dollars. The president of the Hillandale board, a real estate agent, has been accused of having self-interested motives and throwing neighbors under the bus by renting a town home to the Federal Reserve.

The heightened police presence doesn’t comfort everyone living in Hillandale. Said another resident, “Some neighbors say it’s great, all the security that is in the neighborhood. But these characters are only here for Janet Yellen. They’re not going to be distracted by robbers, rapists or any other thing. Besides, these guys couldn’t catch a thief if their lives depended on it.”

A number of residents are calling for the Federal Reserve, the FBI, or an independent, third-party consultant to conduct an investigation into the security detail to see if it can be done in a more cost-effective, professional, and less intrusive manner. It is worth noting that the Federal Reserve, a private bank, was given this armed police force as a part of the USA PATRIOT Act. Under Title III, Subtitle B, Section 364 of the law, the Federal Reserve was granted armed officers to protect the bank’s property and top officials.