The "Patriot Act" is the central enabling legal framework and mechanism that allows and requires the kinds of domestic surveillance we're supposed to get so huffy about today.
This has been grossly obvious since this pre-written legislation was set before the Congress in 2001 in response to the airliner attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It was regarded then, as it should be regarded now, as the American equivalent of the German Enabling Act of 1933 which set in place and practice the Hitler Dictatorship. And we know what that led to.
It was all "legal" you see.
When some members of the Congress balked at being railroaded into approval of the "Patriot Act" in 2001, among them Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, someone, we know not who, started sending anthrax through the mail -- domestically produced anthrax from a lab just outside of Washington -- anthrax that killed a number of postal workers and civilians, including a journalist in Florida, though it didn't directly affect the political leaders some of it was sent to. It just focused their minds, you might say. The Anthrax Attack was conveniently blamed on Iraq -- which would prove useful in the future -- though investigation would eventually show that it was a domestic terrorist act from inside the government.
The measure was passed.
Well. Pretty much everything we're supposed to be in a tizzy about now, especially those aspects of domestic surveillance we're able to know something about, are the direct results of that Enabling Act we call the "Patriot Act," an Act that has been slightly revised and renewed by Congress on a number of occasions. All this has been covered in the media with fanfare and pom-poms. Dissent has been muted to say the least.
Also, let's recall that the initial aspects of the domestic surveillance programs we're supposed to be so OUTRAGED!!!! about now were lawlessly in place well before the attacks in September of 2001, some of it initiated in 2000, and they were vastly expanded and legalized by passage of the "Patriot Act" in October of 2001.
If any significant portion of this invasive domestic surveillance infrastructure is to be removed, the "Patriot Act" must be repealed, but that's not on the "to do" list of Congress, nor is it something advocated and promoted by the Snowden/Greenwald nexus at the Guardian, nor do we hear calls for repeal from anyone else in the media.
We might ask why.