NORMAN SOLOMON – The morning after final passage of the USA Freedom Act, while some foes of mass surveillance were celebrating, Thomas Drake sounded decidedly glum. The new law, he told me, is â€œa new spy program.â€ It restarts some of the worst aspects of the Patriot Act and further codifies systematic violations of Fourth Amendment rights. Later on Wednesday, here in Oslo as part of a â€œStand Up For Truthâ€ tour, Drake warned at a public forum that â€œnational securityâ€ has become â€œthe new state religion.â€ Meanwhile, his Twitter messages were calling the USA Freedom Act an â€œitty-bitty stepâ€ â€” and a â€œstop/restart kabuki shell gameâ€ that â€œstarts w/ restarting bulk collection of phone records.â€
JOHN HANRAHAN – On Monday, April 27, seven prominent national security whistleblowers called for a number of wide-ranging reforms â€” including passage of the â€œSurveillance State Repeal Act,â€ which would repeal the USA Patriot Act â€” in an effort to restore the Constitutionally guaranteed 4th Amendment right to be free from government spying. Several of the whistleblowers also said that the recent lenient sentence of probation and a fine for General David Petraeus â€” for his providing of classified information to his mistress Paula Broadwell â€” underscores the double standard of justice at work in the area of classified information handling.