Dennis Kucinich 
Feb 10, 2011
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today took to the floor of the House to oppose the effort to reauthorize expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act.
During the debate, Kucinich invoked the Constitution, the image of Gadsden Flag and the motto ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ in an appeal to members of the Tea Party. “It is time we really remember what the essence of that motto ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ really means. It means you protect your liberty. You stand for freedom,” said Kucinich.
Video of Kucinich’s statements are available here and here.
Kucinich, of whom Congressman John Conyers said “no one has worked on this issue more closely,” cited our Constitutional experience and our need for Constitutional protections.
“We are all patriots here and we all want America to be protected but we have to remember our Constitutional experience … We didn’t hear ‘give me liberty or give me a wiretap.’ We didn’t hear ‘don’t tread on me… but its okay to spy.’ What we heard was a ringing declaration for freedom. And it was enshrined in our Constitution,” declared Kucinich.
Kucinich continued by criticizing abuses of the intent of the PATRIOT Act, saying that government can “reach into financial records, medical records and our reading materials. What is happening to our country? Why are we giving up our basic liberties? We need to take a stand here and this is as good a day as any to take a stand.
“Many Members of Congress, including those supported by my friends in the Tea Party, maintain their goal is to get rid of big government, to get the government out of their lives. … Some want to get government out of health care, some want to get government out of retirement security. How about getting government out of people’s bedrooms? Out of people’s financial records and people’s medical records? Vote no,” said Kucinich.
Provisions which had been set to expire include Section 206, known as the “John Doe Wiretap.” It allows the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to obtain an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to wiretap a target without having to specify the target or the device.
The second provision, Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, known as the “Business Records” provision allows the FBI to order any person or business to turn over “any tangible things” as long as it specifies it is for “an authorized investigation.” Orders executed under Section 215 constitute a serious violation of Fourth and First Amendment rights by allowing the government to demand access to records often associated with the exercise of First Amendment rights, such as library records or medical records.
The third provision, Section 6001, known as the “Lone Wolf” surveillance provision is contained in the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 authorizes the government to conduct investigations of non-U.S. individuals not connected to a foreign power or terrorist group. It effectively allows the government to circumvent the standards that are required to obtain electronic surveillance orders from criminal courts.