Franken is now saying he'll introduce a bill for "transparency" because the public will support the current surveillance programs if they grasp what's really involved: " I think that if there were greater transparency, Americans would have a better understanding of these programs." Count on transparency to be a buzzword cloak for more of the same.
Another Democratic senator, Ron Wyden, has been vastly more candid. At a forum the day before the Amash amendment vote, Wyden said that for surveillance, as far as the Obama administration is concerned, "the authority is essentially limitless."
An ACLU staff attorney, Alexander Abdo , was driving at the same point when he wrote days ago: " Perhaps the most fundamental problem with the NSA's constitutional theory is that it has no limit. If the constitution is blind to the collection of our data and limits only the NSA's later uses of it, then the NSA truly can "collect it all' now and ask questions later. Our emails, phone calls and internet activities would all be very simple for the NSA to collect under the NSA's theory. But it could go much further. It could put video cameras on every street corner, it could install microphones in every home and it could even remotely copy the contents of every computer hard drive."
All three branches of the U.S. government are now largely under the control of forces with stunning contempt for basic legal processes required by the Bill of Rights. Mere words and mild reforms from members of Congress may mollify the gullible, but only a direct challenge to the Obama administration's policies can rise to the level of the current historic imperative to restore civil liberties in the United States.