In an email sent out by Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to his supporters, Paul came out against the extension of key parts of the PATRIOT Act and a related intelligence law.
Paul starts off his letter by bringing up James Otis who had argued against blank search writs issued by the British government before the American Revolution:
He condemned these general warrants as "the worst instrument[s] of arbitrary power, the most destructive of English liberty and the fundamental principles of law, that ever w[ere] found in an English law book." Otis objected to these writs of assistance because they "placed the liberty of every man in the hands of every petty officer." The Fourth Amendment was intended to guarantee that only judges-not soldiers or policemen-would issue warrants. Otis' battle against warrantless searches led to our Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable government intrusion.
In the same spirit as Otis attacking these unfair searches, Paul then attacks the PATRIOT Act:
My main objection to the PATRIOT Act is that searches that should require a judge's warrant are performed with a letter from an FBI agent-a National Security Letter ("NSL").
I object to these warrantless searches being performed on United States citizens. I object to the 200,000 NSL searches that have been performed without a judge's warrant.
I object to over 2 million searches of bank records, called Suspicious Activity Reports, performed on U.S. citizens without a judge's warrant.
Paul ended his message by applauding the effort of former Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), who had been the only Senate vote against original PATRIOT Act.
While it is presumed that a PATRIOT Act extension will pass the Senate with a minimal problems, Paul is intent on trying to stop it. Paul's reference to Feingold also shows he is more concerned with the issue itself than with scoring partisan points.
The PATRIOT extension passed the House yesterday 275-144.