The nomination of former Massachusetts Governor William Weld as the Libertarian Party’s Vice Presidential nominee was not one which was met without controversy. Activists booed Weld throughout the convention and there even had to be a second ballot to ultimately confirm him as Vice President. This was due to Weld’s positions on spending, gun control, war, the EPA and a host of other issues. That being said, this author has discovered something which was not brought up during the fight over Weld’s nomination and is an absolutely damning position for anybody who claims to care about the 4th amendment.
In 2005, as a debate over the renewal of the PATRIOT Act waged in the Senate, notorious neocon Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy authored a letter urging renewal of the law which was signed by over 50 members of the national security establishment. This included men such as John Ashcroft, Frank Gaffney, James Woolsey and…..yes, newly crowned Libertarian Party Vice Presidential nominee William Weld. The letter specifically cited the expiration of the wiretapping capability provided under the Patriot Act as well as the access to the data provided by section 215 of the law (among many others) as reasons the Senate should renew the law. The group of high profile political figures, according to the letter, “called on the Congress not to allow the expiration of key parts of this ‘vital tool in our national effort to prevent further terrorist attacks against the United States.'”
The Libertarian Party as well as the Johnson/Weld campaign must offer an explanation for this. The PATRIOT Act was perhaps the most explicitly unlibertarian law passed after 9/11, and Weld’s support of it (as well as his willingness to associate with characters like Frank Gaffney) should cause liberty activists across the country to doubt his sincerity in advocating for a non interventionist foreign policy and civil liberties. The fact that the letter specifically cited the provision under which we now know the NSA justifies their bulk collection of every American’s phone records brings up even larger question’s about Weld’s commitment to the 4th amendment.
A call to the Libertarian Party Public Relations Office for comment was not immediately returned.