by Deborah Nelson
It looks like the FBI abused surveillance power in a political attack against President Trump.
Current District 1 House Rep. Matt Gaetz says he’s outraged. To every TV camera in sight.
So why did he vote with Nancy Pelosi and Republican establishment lawmakers to expose average Americans to even worse abuses of warrantless surveillance?
If Gaetz is concerned about Justice Department politicization, why did he vote, along with Nancy Pelosi, against Rep. Justin Amash and Sen. Rand Paul’s USA RIGHTS Act?
The RIGHTS Act would have allowed the same surveillance of foreign suspects and shady Americans covered by FISA law. But it would have required a warrant to search Americans’ “incidental” communications, and bolstered citizens’ right to challenge abuses in court.
In other words, the Justice Department wouldn’t have been able to sift through random emails fishing for trigger words. And backtrack warrant justifications from there. Then comb your records until they find…something.
Like an arithmetic mistake on your tax forms. Or an overdue library book, if we really end up down Orwell Road.
Of course, they could always just read through your communications for the last year, then quiz you on them until you misremember something. Then charge you with obstruction.
Could that be abused for political reasons? Personal ones? Career ones? Sheer entertainment? Don’t forget, local officials have connections to this process too.
The USA RIGHTS Act would have preserved 4th Amendment search and seizure protections. Instead, we got an establishment bill that weakened them.
Self-declared “Libertarian” Gaetz voted yes to the establishment, and no to USA RIGHTS.
Prominent members of the House Freedom Caucus like Reps. Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan and Raul Labrador opposed the establishment bill that passed. FreedomWorks opposed it. The Libertarian Cato Institute opposed it. Gaetz voted yes.
Rand Paul opposed it and filibustered it. Where was the media coverage?
Where was Mr. Gaetz’s hair-and-makeup TV outrage about government intrusion into basic American rights?
Where was his concern about government fishing expeditions against law abiding Americans who mention the wrong word in an email?
Then again, ordinary citizens don’t donate big campaign bucks.
The Cato Institute said Mr. Gaetz never answered requests to explain his choice. Maybe they should have waved a donation check at him.
Establishment lawmakers insist the FISA bill they passed requires a warrant to read your email.
Bizarrely, it does. But only for Americans who are already under investigation. In other words, Federal investigators can read law abiding citizens’ information “accidentally” up to the point an official investigation is launched.
In other words, Mr. Gaetz and friends have given suspected criminals more protection than ordinary citizens.
The Feds can riffle through everybody else’s private communications for anything that might catch their eye. And get a warrant after the fact.
The Trump investigation has made one thing clear; if the Feds want you, the Feds are going to find something incriminating.
This is not a conservative v liberal or Republican v Democrat issue.
This is an establishment elite v citizens issue. And Mr. Gaetz sided with the powerful Washington interests best suited to advance his career.
Mr. Gaetz’s popinjay TV railing against FBI abuse of power begs one simple question:
If it’s so terrible, why did he expose We the People to the same danger?
If “deep state” interests can pass President Trump through the wringer, think of what they can do to ordinary Americans, who don’t have expensive lawyers or State Senator fathers to bail us out.
Mr. Gaetz has given big government the power to use our emails, texts, comments and other digital communications against us.
That’s not a law enforcement issue. It’s a hypocrisy one.