The last time Washington reacted to terrorism on home soil, the Patriot Act was the result. Guess who had a hand in creating it.
Joe Biden has announced plans to roll out new domestic terrorism laws in the wake of the Capitol Hill riot.
“Mr. Biden has said he plans to make a priority of passing a law against domestic terrorism, and he has been urged to create a White House post overseeing the fight against ideologically inspired violent extremists and increasing funding to combat them,” Wall Street Journal reports.
But did you know that Biden has often boasted about being the original author of the US Patriot Act?
Legislators later admitted that they hadn’t even had time to read through the hundreds of pages of the history-shaping bill before passing it the next month, yet somehow its authors were able to gather all the necessary information and write the whole entire thing in a week.
This was because most of the work had already been done. CNET reported the following back in 2008:
“Months before the Oklahoma City bombing took place, Biden introduced another bill called the Omnibus Counterterrorism Act of 1995. It previewed the 2001 Patriot Act by allowing secret evidence to be used in prosecutions, expanding the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and wiretap laws, creating a new federal crime of ‘terrorism’ that could be invoked based on political beliefs, permitting the U.S. military to be used in civilian law enforcement, and allowing permanent detention of non-U.S. citizens without judicial review. The Center for National Security Studies said the bill would erode ‘constitutional and statutory due process protections’ and would ‘authorize the Justice Department to pick and choose crimes to investigate and prosecute based on political beliefs and associations.’
Biden’s bill was never put to a vote, but after 9/11 then-Attorney General John Ashcroft reportedly credited his bill with the foundations of the USA PATRIOT Act.
“Civil libertarians were opposed to it,” Biden said in 2002 of his bill. “Right after 1994, and you can ask the attorney general this, because I got a call when he introduced the Patriot Act. He said, ‘Joe, I’m introducing the act basically as you wrote it in 1994.’”
A recent Morning Joe appearance by CIA analyst-turned House Representative Elissa Slotkin eagerly informed us that the real battle against terrorism is now inside America’s borders.
“The post 9/11 era is over,” Slotkin tweeted while sharing a clip of her appearance. “The single greatest national security threat right now is our internal division. The threat of domestic terrorism. The polarisation that threatens our democracy. If we don’t reconnect our two Americas, the threats will not have to come from the outside.”
“Before Congress, Elissa worked for the CIA and the Pentagon and helped destabilise the Middle East during the Bush and Obama admins,” tweeted journalist Whitney Webb in response. “What she says here is essentially an open announcement that the US has moved from the ‘War on terror’ to the ‘War on domestic terror’.”
And it wasn’t just Trump. Accounts are vanishing quickly, including some popular Trump supporter accounts. I myself have lost hundreds of followers on Twitter in the last few hours, and I’ve seen people saying they lost a lot more.
It also wasn’t just Trump supporters; leftist accounts are getting suspended too. The online left is hopefully learning that cheering for Twitter “banning fascists” irrationally assumes that (A) their purges are only banning fascists and (B) they are limiting their bans to your personal definition of fascists. There is no basis whatsoever for either of these assumptions.
Google has ratcheted things up even further by removing Parler from its app store, and Apple will likely soon follow. This push to marginalise even the already fringey social media sites is making the libertarian argument of “If you don’t like censorship just go to another platform” look pretty ridiculous.
This is all happening just in time for the Biden administration, about which critics had already been voicing grave concerns regarding the future of internet censorship. The censorship of a political faction at the hands of a few liberal Silicon Valley billionaires will do the exact opposite of eliminating right-wing paranoia and conspiracy theories, and everyone knows it.