Ron Paul: NSA Reform And Congress’ Decline

Congress’ decline from the Founders’ vision as “first among equals” in government to an echo chamber of the unitary executive, has been a slow but steady process. In the process we have seen a steady stream of unconstitutional wars and civil liberties abuses at home. Nowhere is this decline more…

Congress’ decline from the Founders’ vision as “first among equals” in government to an echo chamber of the unitary executive, has been a slow but steady process. In the process we have seen a steady stream of unconstitutional wars and civil liberties abuses at home. Nowhere is this decline more evident than in the stark contrast between the Congressional response to intelligence agencies’ abuses during the post-Watergate era and its response to the far more serious National Security Agency (NSA) abuses uncovered in recent years.

In 1975, Senator Frank Church (D-ID) convened an historic select committee to investigate the US intelligence services for possible criminality in the wake of Watergate. Thanks in part to reporting by Seymour Hersh and others, abuses by the CIA, NSA, and FBI had come to light, including the monitoring of U.S. peace activists.

The Church Committee played its proper Congressional role, checking the power of the executive branch as it had been spiraling out of control since the 1950s and the early CIA covert action programs. The Committee sought to protect U.S. citizens against abuses by their government after those abuses had come to light through leaks of secret government documents.

The parallel to the present NSA scandals cannot be ignored. What is completely different, however, is that Congress is today acting as an advocate for the executive branch’s continuing abuses, and as an opponent to the civil liberties of U.S. citizens. Not only has Congress – with a precious few exceptions – accepted the NSA’s mass spying program on American citizens, it has actually been encouraging the president to continue and expand the program!

Where once there was a Congressional committee to challenge and oppose the president’s abuse of power, today the president himself has been even allowed by a complacent Congress to hand pick his own NSA review commission!

Are we really expected to believe that a commission appointed by the president to look into the activities of the president’s intelligence services will come to anything more than a few superficial changes to give the impression of real reform?

One of the president’s commission recommendations is that the NSA cease holding our phone records and demand that the private phone companies retain those records instead – for the NSA to access as it wishes. This is supposed to be reform?

The president will make a speech this Friday to tell the rest of us which of the suggestions made by his own commission he will decide to implement. Congress has no problem with that. Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) admitted last week that Congress has no intention of asserting itself in the process. “It’s my hope that [Obama will] do as much as he can through the executive process because the legislative process will be difficult, perilous and long.”

Senator Church famously said back in 1975:

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air… We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left… There would be no place to hide…. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

Have we reached that point? Let us hope not. Real reform begins with the repeal of the PATRIOT Act and of the 2001 Authorization for the use of military force. If we keep our eye on that goal and not allow ourselves to become distracted with the president’s phony commissions we might force Congress to listen.

ron paul

Ron Paul is a former U.S. Congressman from Texas and the leader of the pro-liberty, pro-free market movement in the United States. His weekly column – reprinted with permission – can be found here.

Related posts


Murdaugh Retrial Hearing: Interview With Bill Young

Will Folks
State House

Conservative South Carolina Lawmakers Lead Fight Against CRT

Mark Powell

‘Murdaugh Murders’ Saga: Trial Could Last Into March

Will Folks


euwe max January 12, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Let’s start small – pen knives on airplanes, and no shoe checks.

CNSYD January 12, 2014 at 7:03 pm

What part of the word “former” does Ron Paul not understand?

Tough luck eh? January 13, 2014 at 2:08 pm

How badly do you want him to just go away?

Guess he’s not content to go play with his grand children or sit on a porch rocking in his chair.

CNSYD January 14, 2014 at 4:47 pm

I don’t care what he does. My point is that no one in Congress (or the country based on election results) paid any attention to him. Therefore, even less will now that he is “former”.

Timothy Wenners January 15, 2014 at 2:46 am

Funny how that works.

The only guy warning about the collapse of the economy for all those years due to the money being bad, and nobody payed attention to him.

That’s alright though.

History will judge him to be right.

Enzo April 11, 2014 at 12:18 pm

He doesn’t have a box brain like you too bad.

JCDavis January 12, 2014 at 8:00 pm

And not only is Congress helping us slide into totalitarianism, but sadly, many Americans are cheering them on. This country has become the land of the incarcerated and the home of the fearful.

sisterlauren January 13, 2014 at 8:34 am

Is that why my slogan to “take back our country” caught on like it did?

MashPotato January 12, 2014 at 11:31 pm

The man who should be president

sisterlauren January 13, 2014 at 8:31 am

IF he had supported a woman’s right to choose, he would have been president already. But he doesn’t, so he will never be president. Never. He missed his big chance. He blew it by throwing all of us women under the bus.

Don’t think we will ever forget it either, because we won’t.

MashPotato January 13, 2014 at 9:01 am

His position on abortion lost him the republican primary? You obviously weren’t paying attention

Uh hmmmm January 13, 2014 at 9:14 am

You knew Paul’s fate was sealed when the GOP boo’d the “golden rule” at one of the debates.

Few people even know he actually won Iowa even though the MSM reporting didn’t even put him in the top two.

The game is rigged. Most of the top 5 donors were the same for Obama and Romney. Farrakhan said it best(paraphrasing), “The President was not elected, he was selected.”

sisterlauren January 13, 2014 at 10:04 am

My people knew.

Uh hmmmm January 13, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Lithium brings relief from the voices to thousands.

John Boy January 13, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Lady, you’re really nuts! Check out her Disqus comments. Apparently she has done everything but invent the wheel. Really, girl, 30,000 comments? I’m sorry you’re too mentally ill for a real job, but giving the voices in your head an audience isn’t healthy.

Olga Williams January 14, 2014 at 1:35 am


sisterlauren January 13, 2014 at 10:01 am


The Tea Party was my idea. Remember when it was called the Ron Paul Revolution?

Well it started because I told my friend to check out Ron Paul. We wanted to legalize pot and I told her I had a plan. I was telling everyone about it. I had a plan to end war globally based on legalizing pot and defending the constitution.

He could have been president but he blew it. He no longer has my support and he will not be getting it back either.

Obama beat Hillary when I started blogging about her past as an attorney. Believe me, I know how to play the game of politics.

David Koch came to meet me at my house unannounced right before the election of 2010. Two months later I found out who he was.

Now tell me again who is paying attention and who isn’t.

MashPotato January 13, 2014 at 11:18 am

WOW. The people you meet on the internet…

Discourse January 13, 2014 at 11:34 am

You also claim responsibility for Pope John Paul’s retirement and you once explained that after you sent a letter to Spain the recipient’s commuter train blew up.

Suck A Koch January 13, 2014 at 11:39 am

The TEA Party was YOUR idea? Them, you’re a dumb bitch.

Discourse January 13, 2014 at 11:50 am

Sister also claims to have been a ‘Occupy’ leader and that she’s often followed by BlackWater helicopters.

Citizen Kane January 13, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Ah, she must be that bipolar nutjob I met at the State House. Batshit crazy!

Toothless January 13, 2014 at 11:49 am

The Tea Party is dead, but you know that because you’re paying attention.

magnetik January 13, 2014 at 6:51 pm

did he throw you under the bus or did he save a child from abortion?

boggiemoore January 13, 2014 at 9:46 pm

I’m a woman and I totally agree with Ron Paul. He thinks protecting the life of unborn children is more important than your right to not use birth control. You don’t speak for all women; don’t presume to think you do..

Enzo April 11, 2014 at 12:16 pm

You sure are brainwashed GOOD. He fully supports what a women wants to do but he also has his own ETHICAL views. Like all conservatives he is very weary of having to PAY FOR your birth control. Pay for your own.

The Colonel January 13, 2014 at 5:01 am

Ah, “The Church Committeee”, the same group that brought us 9/11 by reducing the CIA’s HUMINT capabilities.

sisterlauren January 13, 2014 at 8:29 am

9/11 was brought to us by the Bush/Cheney administration.

The Colonel January 13, 2014 at 8:54 am

Yeah, they’d been in office all of what, 10 months? In the Obama administration, that’d make it all Clinton’s fault (which of course, it partially was)

sisterlauren January 13, 2014 at 10:05 am

The 2000 election was stolen in a coup, that was the set up for 9/11.

The Colonel January 13, 2014 at 10:32 am

You know, if you’ll line your beanie hat with tin foil you’ll stop hearing all those voices…

zlop January 13, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Conspiracy runs deeper than distracting elections. “AAron Russo, exposes the Rockefeller’s – YouTube”

NSA Might Know January 13, 2014 at 6:15 pm

How in the fuck did all these nuts get on this page?? Here’s another 30,000+ Disqus commenter. Are you and the Sister at the same institution?

zlop January 13, 2014 at 6:27 pm

To learn, watch the quoted video.
As for elections, basics here;
“Alan Watt – Bread and Circuses”

John Boy January 13, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I got about five minutes into it and damn near pissed myself laughing. Thanks for the skinny!

John Boy January 13, 2014 at 6:39 pm

I got about five minutes into it and damn near pissed myself laughing. Thanks for the skinny!

Enzo April 11, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Actually, it WAS clinton and hillary who got the ball rolling.

zlop January 13, 2014 at 4:27 pm

Was planned in the City of London by MI7
Funded by the Sauds, Co-ordinated by Mosad
Assisted by the CIA — Bush/Cheney distracted
“9/11: A Conspiracy Theory – YouTube”

Enzo April 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm

And obama was one of their main players

sisterlauren January 13, 2014 at 8:28 am Reply
zlop January 13, 2014 at 7:10 pm

Genocidal Austerity?
“Webster Tarpley on Ron Paul” uTube

Olga Williams January 14, 2014 at 1:34 am


Timothy Wenners January 15, 2014 at 2:44 am

Hilarious that you would make fun of a man who predicted everything we are going thru now back in the 70’s

You really haven’t a clue do you?

Enzo April 11, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Go back to your broken liberal public school and learn how to spell D-U-M-B-O. Oh and your use of grammar is horrible.

Michael Williams January 15, 2014 at 10:59 pm

The political elites in this country are most scared, not by libertarianism, but by being innocent. Anyone who cannot be blackmailed is too dangerous to be president. The last scandal these guys had on Ron Paul was a weak story from 1996.


Leave a Comment