Privacy Activists and Sen. Ron Wyden Worry As AG Barr Is Handed New Powers
Sen. Ron Wyden along with privacy advocates condemned in no uncertain terms that a proposed change to the PATRIOT ACT that would, according to, Wyden give AG Barr unlimited spying power. The new powers are being pushed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Wyden said of the proposed amendment, “These amendments would pretty much guarantee the ability of an incumbent administration to spy on its political opponents without consequence.”
Mitch McConnell is forcing a Senate vote on his amendment to give Bill Barr warrantless access to Americans’ browsing history. I’ve heard a lot of bad ideas in my lifetime, but this is one of the worst. Tune in as I explain why: https://t.co/r53nm2HxzA
— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) May 13, 2020
The new powers would allow the FBI to seize the internet search and browsing history of Americans. Sen. Wyden said, “It is open season on anybody’s most personal information.” The amendment would give Barr the power to review the evidence presented to the FISA court by the FBI for “accuracy and completeness” when it comes to individuals targeted for surveillance. Wyden told The Daily Business, “Under the McConnell amendment, Barr gets to look through the web browsing history of any American—including journalists, politicians, and political rivals—without a warrant, just by saying it is relevant to an investigation.” Wyden made the comments before blasting the bill on the floor.
Remember this vote next time one of these 10 Democrats or Sanders tells you that Trump is the most dangerous president in history. They just facilitated outrageous surveillance powers for William Barr and the FBI.
— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) May 13, 2020
On the floor, Wyden said, “Typical Americans may think to themselves, ‘I’ve got nothing to worry about, I’ve done nothing wrong. The government has no reason to suspect me of anything. “Unfortunately, the question is not whether you did anything, the question is whether a government agent believes they have the right to look at your web searches… It is open season on anybody’s most personal information. If that doesn’t give you chills I don’t know what will.”
Many activists have spoken up against mass surveillance but we will see if Sen. Wyden can convince his colleagues of his worries in the future because an amendment to stop McConnell was defeated