Supporters of the NSA’s large scale spying on the American people claim the program has made our country safer. Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
This week, I stood on the Senate floor for over 10 hours explaining just that. We should never give up our rights for a false sense of security, but supporters of the PATRIOT Act are also presenting voters with a false choice. This week, the Investigator General reported that the FBI has not cracked a single terrorist plot thanks to the invasive spying powers implanted under the PATRIOT Act. Let me reiterate that: even the most vocal defenders of the spying program have failed to identify a single thwarted plot.
When will we realize that trading liberty for security is a monumental mistake? The Revolutionary War was fought to protect against writs of assistance, general warrants written by soldiers not judges. Our Founding Fathers believed that the right to be left alone—the right to be secure in your own persons—is the most cherished of rights.