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US Patriot Act Should Be ‘Let Die’ - NSA Whistleblower

© Flickr / uncoolbobSurveillance camera
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The US Patriot Act, authorizing the bulk collection of data on US citizens, should either be repealed or amended to fit within the US Constitution, National Security Agency whistleblower William Binney told Sputnik on Monday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US intelligence agencies have used provisions in the Patriot Act to justify dragnet data collection on US citizens since its implementation following the September 11, 2001 US terrorist attacks.

“They should cancel it, just let it die,” Binney said of the US Patriot Act, which is up for congressional reauthorization by June 1, 2015.

“Just cancel the whole thing and start again.”

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Binney worked as a high-level NSA intelligence agent for 30 years. After retiring in 2001, he became a whistleblower and brought public attention NSA domestic surveillance programs.

If the US Congress does not repeal the Patriot Act, it should alter the Act.

“If you collect any data on transactions between US citizens — phone calls, emails, any kind of financial transactions — and you have it in your databases, then you need to have a warrant signed by a judge with a statement of the persons’ name, probable cause, and reasons for going for this data to begin with,” he said.

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Binney added that his proposal is simply reasserting the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution, guaranteeing the right to due process under the law, and anyone caught violating the requirement should be prosecuted.

The US Patriot Act was last renewed by US President Barack Obama in 2011. Members of the US Senate have proposed reauthorizing the Act until 2020.

The Surveillance State Repeal Act, a bill introduced in March 2015 in the US House of Representatives, proposes the repeal of federal mass surveillance laws and has broad support from whistleblowers and civil liberties organizations.

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“I call that indiscriminate slaughter,” Binney said of the CIA’s lethal drone strikes that were responsible for accidentally killing one US and one Italian citizen in January 2015.

Binney alleged that the CIA “does not necessarily know” what target it is hitting, and relies on metadata, or broad information and signals, to verify targets.

“We kill people with metadata,” Binney said, referring to an April 2014 quote by former NSA and CIA Director Michael Hayden.

“You are not verifying your target to begin with.”

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