Although a four-year Patriot Act extension passed both houses of Congress yesterday by a large margin — despite Rand Paul’s one-man crusade against it in the Senate — the number of “no” votes increased. One surprising new no vote came from Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a freshman who is interesting to watch because he is both hawkish and sympathetic to constitutionalist arguments.
West sent FBI Director Robert Mueller the following questions about the provisions up for extension:
* 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?
Mueller didn’t write back and West voted against the extensions.