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"This Whole Patriot Act Thing"

Reported by Melanie - June 15, 2005

Representative Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was supposed to be a guest today (June 15, 2005) on Your World w/Neil Cavuto.

Cavuto ended his show yesterday promoting Sanders' appearance. Sanders was listed on the schedule for Cavuto's show today on Fox's website. Fox showed video of Sanders sitting in a studio as Cavuto opened his show, and Cavuto promoted Sanders' appearance twice during the first eight minutes. Eight minutes in, Cavuto cut to a commercial saying, "he's commin' up next." Yet, the interview never happened.

Cavuto didn't mention Sanders again (after his "commin' up next" remark) until the end of the show when he said, "All right, by the way, we had some scheduling problems with Bernie Sanders. He will be joining us tomorrow on this whole Patriot Act thing, why he wants to rescind it. Bernie tomorrow."

Comment: I wonder what happened. I'd be willing to bet that Fox mislead Sanders as to when he'd go on and that he didn't expect to have to wait. I think he walked out, but, of course, I'll never know for sure.

I look forward to seeing the interview tomorrow about this "whole Patriot Act thing," (Cavuto makes it sound so trivial), but I did want to note that Cavuto got it wrong. Sanders doesn't want to "rescind" the Patriot Act. He want to rescind one section:

Under Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, as currently written, the FBI can walk into a secret FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court, tell a judge that he is doing an investigation on terrorism, and that judge must grant the FBI the right to go into a library or bookstore and obtain their reading records. The FBI need not show probable cause, nor even reasonable grounds to believe, that the person whose records it seeks is engaged in criminal activities. The simple truth is that the FBI could spy on a person because they don't like the books she reads, or because she wrote a letter to the editor critical of a governmental policy. Further, those served with Section 215 orders are prohibited from disclosing the fact to anyone else. Those who are the subjects of the surveillance are never notified that their privacy has been compromised. It is critical that we amend Section 215 in order to protect the basic civil liberties that define our nation.

Scary stuff, huh? Nonetheless, not wanting to relinquish its control over we citizens, the Bush administration has said Bush will veto the entire bill containing Sanders' little (but important) amendment: The Bush administration on Tuesday threatened a veto of a massive spending bill for law enforcement, space programs and other federal programs if it weakens the post-Sept. 11 Patriot Act, the White House said.

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