[Libs-Or] Information Fwd: [alacol2] News report on the PATRIOT Act
diedre08 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 4 10:51:19 PST 2011
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Lynne E. Bradley <lbradley at alawash.org>
Date: Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 10:42 AM
Subject: [alacol2] News report on the PATRIOT Act business we discussed on
the conf call
To: ALA COL <alacol2 at ala.org>, la at ala.org
*** Senate split over how to extend the Patriot Act's surveillance authority
By Pete Kasperowicz - 02/04/11 11:12 AM ET
Senate Democrats and Republicans are in a three-way split over how to extend
the legal authority to conduct surveillance and information-gathering
activities under the USA Patriot Act.
Two Democrats and one Republican have each introduced a bill to address the
issue. The bills conflict on how long to extend the authorities and how much
oversight to include.
The Senate must decide which approach to take before these authorities
expire at the end of February.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) was hoping his
committee could mark up his bill Thursday. Leahy's bill, the USA Patriot Act
Sunset Extension Act, would extend three surveillance authorities until the
end of 2013, and provide for increased oversight of U.S. intelligence
Specifically, the bill would allow the U.S. to continue "roving
surveillance" of targets, collect business records and other tangible
intelligence records, and surveillance of solo operators who are not tied to
a specific terrorist group but may pose a threat to the United States.
But new Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced a bill
Friday that permanently extend these authorities. Grassley, along with
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said temporary extensions
and the threat of oversight would hinder U.S. intelligence agents.
"The threat of terrorism isn't going away so we must provide our agents with
the tools they need to get the job done," Grassley said. "Given that
terrorist threats, including those from self-radicalized individuals,
continue to evolve, we must ensure that our law enforcement agents are not
burdened with new restrictions on existing authorities."
Thursday, Leahy charged Republicans with politicizing the issue.
"We should not play politics with national security," Leahy said. He added
that he has been conducting "aggressive oversight" of USA PATRIOT Act
surveillance authorities since the original bill was passed in 2001.
But Leahy is also facing a challenge from within his own party. Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-Calif.) has introduced her own bill that would extend the
surveillance authorities until 2013, but would do so without the additional
oversight language that Leahy prefers.
In Thursday's hearing, Feinstein indicated that there may not be enough time
to consider Leahy's reforms.
All three bills have been introduced consecutively: Feinstein's is S. 289,
Leahy's is S. 290, and Grassley's is S. 291. Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid (D-Nev.) on Friday morning objected to the second reading of these
bills on the Senate floor, which puts them aside for now and allows for more
time to decide how to proceed.
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