Why this privacy advocate supports Bob Barr

by J. Bradley Jansen

Six years ago, I took the Libertarian Party to task for trying to defeat then US Rep. Bob Barr (then R-GA) for re-election in the Republican Party primary. Every response I received at the time from LP officials around the country supported my position.

Just as a vocal few in the LP were wrong about their assessment of Bob Barr then, many fellow libertarians harbor misperceptions about him now based on the shouts of a small, ill-informed minority. In a recent American Spectator article, I took on a few of the misperceptions. I elaborated on my case in an updated Liberty article.

Ten years ago, Bob Barr alone stood with Ron Paul on a “Dear Colleague” letter to the other House members opposing a National ID system. In 2000, Barr testified before Congress on the need to update our foreign intelligence gathering—and protect our privacy. That is the leadership and experience lacking with other choices.

Drug war opponents and international privacy activism networks have long recognized Barr’s work on Carnivore and other privacy issues. After he successfully tarnished Carnivore’s name, the FBI redubbed the computer surveillance system DCS 1000, and Barr was there continuing the fight.

At the same time, Barr introduced legislation defending privacy and urging effective policies regarding CALEA. His leadership on wiretaps and other issues is recognized by privacy rights groups where he worked with Democrats to get his Carnivore amendment passed in the summer of 2001.

In short, I was there in the trenches fighting for policies to make us safe and free. And Bob Barr was there with us and stayed in the fight. Everyone else on our side involved with that fight has confirmed my characterization, none has refuted it. So yes, I take these attacks on our defender personally.

Bob Barr initially denounced Bush’s anti-terrorism proposal, was “profoundly disappointed“ and earned Karl Rove’s ire for it. I’m sure Rove remembered how Barr had worked with the ALCU and the privacy community defending privacy in the war on terror consistently going back to 1996 and how Bob Barr not only voted to stop Clinton’s military strikes in Yugoslavia but joined Dr. Paul in suing the president for peace (along with future presidential candidates Reps. Tom Tancredo, Dennis Kuchinich, Cynthia McKinney and former presidential candidate Phil Crane). It’s amazing to me how fellow libertarians-cum-Barr critics now act as Rove lackeys trying to rewrite history.

Barr publicly criticizing the deal to extend the worst provisions which he had nearly singlehandedly sunsetted, and denounced the vote. He went on the record publicly praising the courts for reigning in the abuse of “national security letters.” and called for its repeal with Ron Paul and other conservative and libertarian groups. He quickly denounced the administration’s misuse of the law and reminded us of the need for the Posse Comitatus Act after federal abuses in Reconstruction. Barr stubbornly badgered the Executive branch for more transparency and to make them justify their proposals in terms of cost and privacy implications.

Bob Barr is the right man to implement Dr. Paul’s agenda.

J. Bradley Jansen was a legislative staffer for U.S. Congressman Ron Paul from 1997-2001. He is director of the Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights of the Liberty and Privacy Network (but views expressed here are his own), which is part of Bob Barr’s Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances.

6 Responses to “Why this privacy advocate supports Bob Barr”

  1. David K. Meller Says:

    Most voters, including most libertarian-leaning voters, have probably made up their minds by this time. While it would have been helpful to have published this article several months ago, to help people who had strong reservations about Bob Barr, and perhaps even the Libertarian Party as a whole, make a sound appraisal of Barr.

    Better late than never, however. Thank you for this informative and helpful article. I hope enough supporters of Ron Paul understand to vote for Barr tomorrow, and to join the LP after that. With either McCain or Obama—more likely—we libertarians have a LOT of work to do in the next four years if we are to have a country left!

    David K. Meller

  2. Bradley in DC Says:


    I wrote it for the LP News which chose not to include it.

  3. Josh Says:

    I am surprised they chose not to publish it. LP News has had such bad content lately that I figured they would publish something like this.

    Well done.

  4. Stefan Says:

    Great article! Nothing to add.

  5. DonaldRaymondLake Says:

    California’s ‘grass roots democratically styled’ Peace and Freedom Party also has a print house organ. In tamdum with the LP News, it also is flavored with fascist censorship. ctweber and a bunch of the old guard have keep the interal ‘loyal opposition’ at bay for years.

    With all the people and issues and candidates and elections on the West Coast, the Partisan reads like a reprint of New York City’s Village Voice. Very little California news or articles in ‘California’s ’ news letter.

    Non connected activists whom wish to see their issues and opinions published are just wasting their time. I mean some of the past candidate rosters have just been fool hardy, including convicted federal felon cop killers.

    And California’s Green News in P2004! These folks had photos [front page, over the fold] of Nader /Camejo and the two other GP type candidates. [Follow us folks, we are right behind you!]

    The reform movement struggled for years for a decent monthly. After ineptitute and or sabotage [Virginia Brooks, Theordore Webster, Beverly Kennedy, Sandra Madison] both blog and dead tree media were on stable footing [2005].

    Assisted by the Hoffpauir Machine of OK, Isreal First types John Blare, John Coffey [Citizens For A Better Veterans Home], John Bambey and Valli Sharpe Geisler disconstructed both to kill stories (how ever true) of Isreali work against the USA. For some, patriotism, thy name is Jerusalem!

    Make a short story long, the LP has no corner on illogical (or agents provacateur) media.

  6. Sandy Fitzgerald Says:


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