According to Wikipedia, the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is the part of the Bill of Rights that “prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported…”
Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) grilled Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson over the government’s surveillance capabilities, particularly questioning him about whether the practices adhere to the Fourth Amendment.
According to MediaITE, Paul asked Johnson if he believes the Fourth Amendment “applies to third party records,” specifically those of telephone companies. Johnson said that question is “beyond my competence as secretary of homeland security” to answer intelligently.
“Here’s the problem, though, your agency is in charge of cooperating and being part of this,” Paul said. “And that’s the whole debate we have in our country is over whether we should do this.”
In his earlier testimony, Johnson complained that telephone companies are moving toward more encryption of data. Paul said they are doing that because they feel as if the government is taking records without a warrant.
The talk seemed meaningful. Whether or not Rand Paul’s position on NSA phone and internet spying remains the same, though that remains to be seen.
Unfortunately, Paul’s position on drone strikes has shifted over time:
Republicans caved in on funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
Sam Seder and Cliff Schecter of Majority Report discuss whether Democrats are now “showing spine.”
The New York Times:
“The fight over funding the Department of Homeland Security that began with Republicans thundering about a lawless president abusing power to change immigration policy ended with a quiet capitulation Tuesday when the House voted to fund the agency and avert a partial shutdown.”
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security sent out a joint warning to law enforcement across the country last weekend concerning a growing trend of girls and boys wanting to fight with ISIS, according to CNN.
One official said there was no increase in U.S. government threat levels, although there is heightened concern lately about recruitment of American and other foreign fighters by Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
A DHS official, commenting on background, said the bulletin was issued “to provide further information on the continuing trend of Western youth being inspired by ISIL to travel to Syria to participate in conflict,” says Reuters.
The warning comes in the wake of the detention of a 17-year-old Northern Virginia teen last week, says a law enforcement official who has read the report.
The source says law enforcement is tracking “lots of cases” like that around the country and they’re growing increasingly concerned about the threat.
The warning lays out motivations for boys and girls to join ISIS.
Boys tend to be older when they leave to fight and be a part of foreign fighters, or they want to attack in the U.S. Girls tend to be younger and have a fanciful notion of what life is like in Syria, and they often want to go over and be Islamic brides.
Until late Friday afternoon, it looked like the House would pass a three-week continuing resolution, the Senate would approve it, and President Obama would sign it, and it would at least be better than a shutdown, according to Politico.
White House aides were paying attention to their vote, but not with a lot of suspense.
Then the House fumbled its funding bill, and suddenly White House and DHS officials were running around trying to figure out the next move.
By late Friday night, the sense of crisis passed as it became clear that the solution would be a one-week continuing resolution to keep the department’s doors open, for a while.
The House passed the one-week bill around 10 p.m., less than two hours after the Senate approved it. Obama signed the seven-day bill before midnight.
The legislation also leaves intact Obama administration executive actions on immigration, though Republicans have vowed to defund it.
The outcome means the White House and DHS will have to be prepared for another crisis in just a week, according to Politico.
According to TPM, government shutdown wars are back with a vengeance.
House Republicans started up a possible new standoff on Wednesday with passage of legislation that overturns President Barack Obama’s executive actions on deportation relief for millions of undocumented immigrants.
The bill passed 236-191, with 10 Republicans voting against it and 2 Democrats supporting it.
The legislation passed on Wednesday is tied to the funding of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which expires on Feb. 28. According to TPM, the department will partially shut down if a bill isn’t enacted by then.
However, PoliticusUSA states that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have toned down conservative expectations over the idea of a possible DHS shutdown.