June 3, 2015—He had home court advantage, but Chris Cuomo was flopping around like a fish out of water in his CNN studio during an exchange with Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY).
Cuomo kicked things off asking Massie why he opposes the USA FREEDOM Act. For Massie, the rub is in the FISA courts.
“The FISA court that we’re still relying on is the gatekeeper to all this information whether the phone companies keep it or the government keeps it,” Massie said, continuing, “the same FISA court that issued a warrant that covered every American in this country.”
Cuomo interrupted to point out that there are “legal-types” who don’t believe that a warrant that covers every American is a general warrant. Then Cuomo said the FISA court itself was the “and technically, they are the advocate for liberty. That’s what they’re doing, is making sure that what is asked for doesn’t offend the Constitution.”
Massie couldn’t help but smile at that last bit, going on to let Cuomo in on a little secret. The original USA FREEDOM Act did have a civil liberties advocate but that part of the legislation was whittled away in committee. Massie also tried explaining to Cuomo that the 4th Amendment doesn’t just say a warrant shouldn’t be general, it requires the warrant be a specific one.
So at this point, it’s only one minute in and Cuomo has gustily tossed two limp straw men into the discussion. With increased gusto, Cuomo replies to Massie’s retort with, “Go look it up in the 4th Amendment! It’s unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Despite his confident demeanor, Cuomo doesn’t understand what “unreasonable” means or even that it’s one of the lesser important words in the 4th Amendment. Here’s the whole thing, partially emboldened, for Cuomo-types out there:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
What’s next for Cuomo? More straw men! (And we haven’t even reached the two minute mark for this interview.)
Calling Massie’s arguments “scare tactics,” Cuomo falsely claimed that the NSA was never listening in on Americans’ phone calls or collecting personal data. Except of course NSA employees were found doing exactly those things to their love interests. Massie was quick to point out that metadata absolutely reveals identifying information such as one’s religion, doctor, medications, and political ideology.
At this point, Massie is eager to move onto a discussion of substance. He tries to educate Cuomo on Section 702, a part of the Patriot Act that will be up for renewal in two years, which covers collection of emails and other personal internet content and data.
Cuomo is just as eager to not bring that sort of thing up. To the polls! Cuomo’s poll asking if NSA surveillance should be renewed shows only 36 percent believe the program should not be renewed. But then, Massie brought up a different, more specific poll which asked if there should be more checks on government surveillance, of which a majority sided with Massie’s position.
Tie game, right? Nope. Cuomo accuses Massie’s poll results of being skewed “because of what people like you told them.” Does Cuomo even think before he speaks?
Massie reminds Cuomo that it was the US government’s secrecy that lost the trust of the American people. It took Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing to bring about polls like this in the first place.
Unbelievably, Cuomo says that the facts revealed by Snowden have been “greatly disputed.” What? Right, he doesn’t think before he speaks. I remember now.
Finding that he was beginning to ramble, Cuomo name-drops Mike Rogers (former Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, now a CNN National Security Commenter). Massie’s reaction was epic.
“You know what? Mike Rogers let us down. He failed us. All 435 congressmen can’t know the secrets, so we entrust the Select Intel Committee to know the secrets. And they’re supposed to make sure that these laws aren’t being interpreted illegally by the NSA. And the 2nd highest court in the land just determined, last month, that the NSA was breaking the law. And really, ya know, the previous chairman of the Select Intel Committee should’ve been aware of that, should’ve brought that to the attention of the rest of Congress.”
What’s next for Cuomo? More straw men! Hey, it’s been a few minutes. This time Cuomo puts a curly wig and Ray-Bans on his straw man and calls it Senator Rand Paul. Claiming that Paul was deceiving people by implying that the court found Section 215 unconstitutional, Cuomo passive aggressively compliments Massie.
“You made the right point,” Cuomo said. If Massie could have only been in the studio, I’m sure Cuomo would’ve put a gold star on his forehead. Massie broke out in a huge smile all the same when listening to the myna bird named Chris Cuomo recite the court’s legalese. Massie then corrected Cuomo a final time, encouraging him to go back and actually listen to what Rand Paul said.
Do you think Chris Cuomo was unprepared or is this the best the media has to offer? Share your thoughts below.
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