Senate Democrats Cave under Republican Pressure to Renew PATRIOT ACT Without Protective Oversight
Senate DEMS Cave under Republican Pressure to Renew PATRIOT ACT Without Protective Oversight
By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER The Associated Press - Wednesday, February 24, 2010; 9:25 PM
WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted Wednesday to extend for a year key provisions of the nation's counterterrorism surveillance law that are scheduled to expire at the end of the month. In agreeing to pass the bill, Senate Democrats retreated from adding new privacy protections to the USA Patriot Act.
The Judiciary Committee bill would have restricted FBI information demands known as national security letters and made it easier to challenge gag orders imposed on Americans whose records are seized.
Library records would have received extra protections. Congress would have closely scrutinized FBI use of the law to prevent abuses. Dissemination of surveillance results would have been restricted and after a time, unneeded records would have been destroyed.
"I would have preferred to add oversight and judicial review improvements to any extension of expiring provisions in the USA Patriot Act," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "But I understand some Republican senators objected."
Complete Story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/24/AR2010022404926.html