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Congressman Allen West Votes “NO” on Patriot Act Renewal

Both the House and Senate approved a four-year extension of expiring provisions of the Patriot Act yesterday evening,  250-153 in the House, and 72-23 in the Senate.  Congressman Allen West was one of the House’s “NO” votes.  Recall that West earlier this year voted “YES” to extending the Patriot Act provisions.

Here’s the press release from the Congressman’s Office this evening:

Congressman West Statement on the PATRIOT Act

(WASHINGTON) —- Congressman Allen West (FL-22) released this statement tonight following the House passage of the PATRIOT Act, which he opposed:

“I spent 22 years in the United States Army on the tip of the spear protecting the citizens of this great nation in uniform. As a Member of the House of Representatives, I have taken an oath to protect the constitutional rights of the citizens of the 22nd Congressional District of Florida and all Americans.

I support the work that law enforcement around the nation does in order to protect our citizens and apprehend individuals who want to kill innocent people and try to destroy our way of life.

I have spent the past two months investigating these provisions to the PATRIOT Act, their effect on American citizens and their impact on apprehending terrorists to better keep our country safe.  After much reading, many briefings, and conversations with local law enforcement and federal agents, including FBI Director Robert Mueller, I am not fully convinced that by extending these provisions for four years, we would be any safer, but instead I fear they may only give us the illusion of being safer.

I also have concerns that these provisions were pushed through during the final hours on the very last day before the provisions were set to expire, and there was no open process for myself and other members of Congress to fully review the document.

In a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller last week, I asked for clarity on several issues and asked the following questions, which I did not receive answers:

  • Can you provide a breakdown of how many times these provisions have been used on citizens and non-citizens?
  • How many people were ever convicted or investigated?
  • Out of those held, how many were released without being charged?
  • Are there any individuals that are still being held that were never charged?
  • What intelligence, if anything, came from these instances in which Section 206 was implemented?

There is a constant struggle between liberty and safety, and it is a principle that I am prepared to balance as a Congressman of the United States.

Benjamin Franklin, one of the founders of our nation, wrote, ‘They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.’  These are words I do not take lightly.”

*attached is the letter Congressman West sent to FBI Director Robert Mueller, as well as the Statement for the Congressional Record

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  • http://www.thelibertybellpost.com Rick

    God bless Allen West. I know it was difficult for him to vote no on the Patriot Act. His training and gut instincts tell him to protect the American people at all costs I’m sure his view was to use whatever means possible to accomplish that noble goal. In the end, his oath and integrity would not allow him to betray the Constitution. This is exactly what the vast majority of voters is desperately seeking from our political leaders!!! This should serve as our example by which to judge all Tea Party politicians. “Did you protect and defend the Constitution” as your oath demands??? Shame on Marco Rubio……….

  • SandiE

    I LOVE this Patriot. Can I scream any louder for somebody with some power to recruit him to run for President in 2012? He is a true American Patriot that is in office for all of the right reasons. We need many, many more leaders like him.

  • Rip

    I believe that Allen West Should have been our first Black President. After all the “Same Old” republicans we can bet that they would Not endorse West, He is too honest and would Not play the good ole boy game…. Not sure who the running mate should be but I would donate time toward getting Him elected…. Sorry but the dimwits have already stolen all My money…. My time is all I have left….. Does anyone have any good ideas ? I know we need to replace at least 85% of Congress AND the Senate

  • Diane

    GOD Bless yu Allen West, and your family.

  • Francisco

    I am thankful for Rep. West obeying his oath to the Constitution. Is the Patriot Act unConstitutional? He said, absolutely YES with this vote. Thank you Congressman West.

    I hope he continues support for the Constitution in Foreign Policy, Monetary Policy and Commerce.

    In Liberty,
    Francisco

  • Joy richards

    Proud of you Allen. The Patriot act is an government overeach and violates the constitutional rights of Americans.
    I realize its original purpose was for protection but they have gone too far.Glad you are a person of priniciple.

  • Ernest

    Thank you Rep. West,
    Perhaps you could get together with Marco Rubio and explain the importance of the Constitution and the oath he took to defend it.

  • Cat

    Congressman West … Please run for President !

    2012 TEA!

  • Dean

    Bravo Allen,

    This is what why we sent you to Washington, to defend our liberties. The statement you released in conjunction with your vote is excellent.

    Very good questions were posed to Robert Mueller. Properly, on our behalf, you deserve honest accurate answers. That he didn’t provide them is symptomatic of what deeply troubles so many Americans.

    The answers to such questions must be pursued now matter where it leads us, so that the root cause of this problem is fully revealed and corrected. That is the true activism of living souls.

    Please persevere in this vein, as it will reveal your true destiny and the reason why the one God put you there.

    Best wishes,

    Dean Taffel

  • James

    Lone Shark…..? U there? Did your hero betray you buy keeping his oath to the People. Or is Mr. West now as ignorant as you claimed we were? UNCONSTITUTIONAL? YOU BETCHA!

    • http://www.shark-tank.net Admin

      Not at all, James. West’s objections to this version of the Patriot Act were far more procedural in nature than they were constitutionally based objections- and I respect his vote.
      He spelled that out pretty clearly in his press release. I still believe the three main provisions of the act are constitutional. – Lone Shark

  • James

    You r incredible man! I love your site, but you crack me up! Remember my friend pride goes before destruction. At least the man that represents us, Mr. West, is able to admit when he is wrong.

  • James

    “Furthermore, I would like to know why the Federal Bureau of Investigation believes it necessary to conduct these type of wiretaps instead of going through the FISA court system?” – Allen West, Letter to FBIDIR, May 19, 2011.

    In other words why not get a warrant as described in the Constitution.

    Notice the question was why have 206 wiretaps? Why not get a warrant? In this case “procedural” IS constitutional.

  • James

    Why is 206 and 215 “within the Criminal Division of the Bureau as opposed to the Counter Terrorism Division” – Allen West

    In other words why is this being applied to citizens, not foreign terrorists? Foreign terrorist do not enjoy Constitutional rights, US citizens do. The entire argument has not been an argument against fighting terrorism, it has been an argument for protecting citizens. After months of investigation (including classified briefings) Allen West gets it. Some still don’t.

    Allen West -February
    I shall NOT ALLOW the enemies of our State to find gaps in which they will exploit our misplaced benevolence. There is a simple reason why radical Islamic terrorists and their supporters are successful in infiltrating Western nations. They take our founding premise of liberty and turn it against us. I say, NOT ON MY WATCH.

    Allen West- May 30
    I have spent the past two months investigating these provisions to the PATRIOT Act, their effect on American citizens and their impact on apprehending terrorists to better keep our country safe. After much reading, many briefings, and conversations with local law enforcement and federal agents, including FBI Director Robert Mueller, I am not fully convinced that by extending these provisions for four years, we would be any safer, but instead I fear they may only give us the illusion of being safer.

  • James

    Now Allen West can, in truth, be called a conservative and not just a Republican. He has now distinguished himself from Progressive Republicans in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt (like G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney). We need more Republicans like him who will be true conservatives.

  • http://www.shark-tank.net Lone Shark

    James, i would refer you back to the responses I gave to folks on the original piece I did.

    With regard to warrants, Andy McCarthy of National Review summed it up best as it pertains to citizens privacy:

    There are powers, long recognized by federal law, to:

    Detain American citizens for investigative purposes without a warrant;

    Arrest American citizens, based on probable cause, without a warrant;

    Conduct a warrantless search of the person of an American citizen who has been detained, with or without a warrant;

    Conduct a warrantless search of the home of an American citizen in order to secure the premises while a warrant is being obtained;

    Conduct a warrantless search of, and seize, items belonging to American citizens that are displayed in plain view and that are obviously criminal or dangerous in nature;

    Conduct a warrantless search of anything belonging to an American citizen under exigent circumstances if considerations of public safety make obtaining a warrant impractical;

    Conduct a warrantless search of an American citizen’s home and belongings if another person, who has apparent authority over the premises, consents;

    Conduct a warrantless search of an American citizen’s car anytime there is probable cause to believe it contains contraband or any evidence of a crime;

    Conduct a warrantless search of any closed container inside the car of an American citizen if there is probable cause to search the car — regardless of whether there is probable cause to search the container itself;

    Conduct a warrantless search of any property apparently abandoned by an American citizen;

    Conduct a warrantless search of any property of an American citizen that has lawfully been seized in order to create an inventory and protect police from potential hazards or civil claims;

    Conduct a warrantless search — including a strip search — at the border of any American citizen entering or leaving the United States;

    Conduct a warrantless search at the border of the baggage and other property of any American citizen entering or leaving the United States;

    Conduct a warrantless search of any American citizen seeking to enter a public building;

    Conduct a warrantless search of random Americans at police checkpoints established for public-safety purposes (such as to detect and discourage drunk driving);

    Conduct warrantless monitoring of common areas frequented by American citizens;

    Conduct warrantless searches of American citizens and their vessels on the high seas;

    Conduct warrantless monitoring of any telephone call or conversation of an American citizen as long as one participant in the conversation has consented to the monitoring;

    Conduct warrantless searches of junkyards maintained by American citizens;

    Conduct warrantless searches of docks maintained by American citizens;

    Conduct warrantless searches of bars or nightclubs owned by American citizens to police underage drinking;

    Conduct warrantless searches of auto-repair shops operated by American citizens;

    Conduct warrantless searches of the books of American gem dealers in order to discourage traffic in stolen goods;

    Conduct warrantless drug screening of American citizens working in government, emergency services, the transportation industry, and nuclear plants;

    Conduct warrantless drug screening of American citizens who are school officials;

    Conduct warrantless drug screening of American citizens who are school students;

    Conduct warrantless searches of American citizens who are on bail, probation or parole.

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