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Newt vs Paul On The Patriot Act

H/t: Verum Serum

They both are right, and wrong.  I disagree with Verum Serum in giving the nod to Newt on this one.

The Patriot Act has wonderful tools that prevent terrorism without violating the Constitution.  It also has police state tools that clearly violate the Constitution.  Newt basically advocated a Minority Report society where we do everything possible to determine if you’ll ever commit an act of terrorism.  That’s damn dangerous.  Paul advocated a purely reactionary society which does not attempt to prevent acts of terrorism.  Also, damn dangerous. Newt’s assertion that the Patriot Act needs no changes is absurd.  As is Paul’s assertion that it needs to be repealed as a whole.

One of my biggest complaints about the Patriot Act is that it’s rarely used for terrorism.  Since it was first passed, the Patriot Act has been used over 1,600 times for drug offenses, and only 15 or so for terrorism.  That effectively erases the myth that the Patriot Act is primarily a counter-terrorism tool.  It is, in fact, a whole change in US law enforcement policy.

How can Newt defend ‘sneek and peek’ warrants?  Or the Patriot Act being used to dismiss US Attorneys?  Which effectively takes away the President’s constitutional authority to appoint them, and gives it to the Attorney General.

Newt, like Paul, has a questionable past in his interpretations of the US Constitution.  At the very least, the Patriot Act should be altered to be narrowly focused on terrorism.