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Thank God for Rand Paul

From TPM:

If Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) keeps holding up the PATRIOT Act by insisting on voting on his amendments, it could have “dire consequences” for our nation’s national security, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) charged on the floor of the Senate Wednesday.

“When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, we will be giving terrorists the opportunity to
plot against our country undetected,” Reid said. “We have to stop him.”

Three provisions of the post-Sept. 11 law are set to expire this week unless Congress re-authorizes them. A small number of senators on both sides of the aisle had sought votes on amendments to add additional oversight provisions to the law and have certain provisions expire a few years down the road.

A few points.

First, has Reid turned into one of those Bachmann-style crazy Republicans? I expect better – perhaps not much better, considering it’s Reid, but better nonetheless.

Second, the PATRIOT Act is, in my opinion, unnecessary. It is not the paper-thin defense standing between us and the risen ghost of Osama. The original bombers of the Twin Towers in 1993 – remember that? – were caught without it. So was Timothy McVeigh. So was Eric Rudolph. Investigators didn’t sit around, scratching their ass, muttering to themselves that if only they had a PATRIOT Act, they could figure out who was behind the Lockerbie bombing – they figured that out just fine without it. And if you want to talk about the less glamorous but more important preventative intelligence work that foiled terrorist plots-to-be, we can play that game too. Remember the Y2K terrorist attack which was going to take out the Seattle space needle? No? That’s probably because it never happened – it was foiled with pre-PATRIOT Act intelligence work. Even 9/11 itself was no mystery; significant intelligence was in the hands of multiple intelligence agencies but coordination – the kind of coordination that could have assembled all the pieces of the puzzle – was the flaw.

Finally, thank you, Rand Paul. Sincerely. I don’t often like the stands you take, but in this case, I’ll stand up and cheer for you.

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