Speaking here at a political conference on Friday, Barr focused almost exclusively on privacy and eavesdropping–and argued that both major parties are far too surveillance-happy. “Both of them will continue down the same track,” Barr said, noting that both McCain and Obama supported last week’s bill to immunize telecommunications companies that illegally opened their networks to government snoops.
Congress’ legislative rewrite of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) is “not about surveilling al-Qaida,” Barr said. “It’s about surveilling U.S. citizens in America.” He added, for good measure: “This administration is the most anti-privacy, the most anti-individual freedom, in our nation’s history, certainly in my lifetime.”
Barr also likes to swipe at the Real ID Act, a law creating a federalized identity card that’s effectively on hold until December 31. “It was passed by the Congress not as a national ID, which it is in every way except a name,” he said. “It is a national ID for the first time in our nation’s history…If certain people were elected president, it would not go into effect.”
During the Libertarian Party’s presidential debate in Denver, the candidates were asked what they’d do about Real ID and the Patriot Act. Barr’s reply was captured on video by C-SPAN: “Fear has become the driving force behind all public policy in our country…(For the Patriot Act), I’d drive a stake through its heart, shoot it, burn it, cut off its head, burn it again, and scatter its ashes to the four corners of the world.”
If you vote for government, you have no right to complain about what government does.