During a recent interview with Dr. Scott Atlas, Kentucky Republican Rand Paul warned that federal law seems to allow a U.S. president to shut down the Internet with a “kill switch” rule that he wants repealed.
Speaking to Atlas on Thursday on the doctor’s “Independent Truths” podcast, Paul alerted listeners to the outdated and outrageous “emergency powers” that the government has to squash freedom in the name of safety and security, including a backdoor “kill switch” to turn off the internet.
“We’ve also looked at the emergency powers and emergency powers — you know the courts have said you don’t throw out the Constitution during emergencies — but a lot of our legislation acts as if you could throw things away,” the senator said at the start of the segment.
The Kentucky senator then explained what happened during the COVID-19 hysteria.
“So when the CDC — and this actually happened some under the Trump administration — they decided that there was a CDC law for the 1930s that said you should do this and this for certain diseases, quarantine, and then it had a clause in there ‘and whatever else is necessary,’ the Trump Administration used that to say we didn’t have to pay our mortgages, and then the Biden administration continued that on.”
Paul, though, pointed out that no one ever dreamed how this power could be abused.
“But this is a power that in no way was ever given to the CDC no one ever anticipated the CDC would say you don’t have to pay your mortgage anymore pay your rent or pay your car payment that is crazy,” he exclaimed.
“We also have another series of emergency powers, some of them have been on there, we’ve had like some emergencies have been going on 50 years, they’re still on the books,” he said.
“There’s actually an emergency power that was given to the FCC in the 1930s that gives the president the power to shut down all communications and control all communications in the US.”
The incredulous senator continued, saying, “People call it the internet kill switch. It’s never been used, but and it predates the Internet, but people now think in applying it to the Internet that a president has the power to shut down the Internet. Nobody should have this.”
This power is delineated under the Communications Act’s Section 706, according to TechCrunch.
Paul noted that he just doesn’t think any president should have this power, even a president he supports.
“Look, I was a supporter of Trump, he shouldn’t have it. I’m not a supporter of Biden, he definitely shouldn’t. No president of either party should have this kind of power,” he continued. “So, we should get rid of these emergency powers, and I’m a sponsor of a bill to get rid of them as well,” Paul advised.
Paul was working with Hawaiian Democrat Tulsi Gabbard in an effort in 2020 to eliminate this kill switch rule.
“The one good thing that happen happened, like in our state of Kentucky our governor used emergency power to close churches, restaurants, and all, etc, hotels, gyms, the court shut him down, but when the legislature finally came back into power they said his emergency Powers don’t last longer than 30 days,” he said.
“So, if he would to shut down something like hotels — which I think you never should do — but if you do it it only lasts 30 days and it expires unless the state legislature reaffirms it,” he noted.
“We should do the same in Washington, it should be an automatic expiration, and most people thought emergency powers were like delivering blankets and water in a tornado. I’m fine with that kind of emergency power,” Paul concluded.
“But nobody ever thought you could close someone’s business down for years at a time uh during an emergency. And then, to make matters worse, most of the things they did didn’t work and weren’t good science.
“Most of the mandates involved things that didn’t slow the spread of the disease and really were uh in error even just based on the science, not based on the freedoms that was lost, but just based on the science, most things they did were ineffective and wrongheaded.”
TechCrunch added that there are other moves afoot in Congress to ameliorate this “kill switch” power, one seeking to put stronger limitations in place.
The Preventing Unwarranted Communications Shutdowns Act, from Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo of California and GOP Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia, would add more layers of accountability to use of the president’s power to black out communications in an emergency.
The two representatives want to limit use of the powers of Section 706 to “imminent and specific threat to human life or national security,” would limit the shutdown time frame to only 12 hours, would require a president to inform state government leaders — including opposing party leaders — and would cancel the use of the section for a single instance after 48 hours, unless renewed by a vote of three-fifths of Congress.
Paul and others looking to put a dent in the outsized power to totally shut down all communication are right. This is a power that no president should have. The damage it could do, leaving people completely bereft of information in a serious crisis, would be disastrous for the country if it were ever used.
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— Bobby D???? (@robertdunlap947) October 16, 2023
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