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Secret surveillance must stop
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At long last, enough members of Congress have rediscovered their primary reason for being there at this defining time in U.S. history -- to rescue the disappearing Constitution.
Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon who is a member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, is joining with Colorado Democrat Sen. Mark Udall to "introduce legislation that would limit the federal government's ability to collect data on Americans without a demonstrated link to terrorism or espionage."
No doubt stirred by the recent revelations of Edward Snowden, Wyden and Udall are moving to fully awaken Americans and others of the U.S. government's limitless spying on us.
Furthermore, Wyden is insisting on public hearings because, as he said last month, "the American people have the right to expect straight answers from the intelligence leadership to the questions asked by their representatives."
But why stop there? Barack Obama should be in the witness chair as well.
And there is also a strong bipartisan drive to reopen the Patriot Act, which was passed in a panic by Congress soon after 9/11. The law became a primary source of the subsequent dismembering of the Constitution through its secret surveillance.
Udall gets to the American Revolutionary core of his and Wyden's legislative mission: "The NSA's collection of millions of Americans' phone call records is the type of overreach I have warned about for years ... We need to protect our national security, but we cannot lose sight of our constitutional liberties and the privacy rights of Americans."
Also aiming at the Patriot Act is a lawsuit by the ACLU and the New York Civil Liberties Union attacking the shadowy Obama administration's omnivorous surveillance program as violating "the First Amendment rights of free speech and association as well as the right of privacy protected by the Fourth Amendment."
Exposing the dictatorial side of Obama is Alex Abdo, an ACLU staff attorney: "The Constitution does not permit the suspicionless surveillance of every person in the country."
 In my book, "Living the Bill of Rights,"  I bring forth patriot educator John A. Howard:
"We have in the U.S. produced several generations of cultural orphans -- who have little knowledge and even less appreciation of their heritage of freedom, or the sacrifices which produced it,” Howard said.
My main job now is to focus on how we can keep future Obamas out of the Oval Office. And that is your job, too, as committed Americans.
Nat Hentoff is an authority on the First Amendment and Bill of Rights.