Posted by: Taylor Hoff | February 16, 2011

Wired – House Extends Key Patriot Act Provisions

House Extends Key Patriot Act Provisions

The House voted Monday to extend to December three expiring provisions of the Patriot Act spy legislation.

The measure’s passage, by a 275-144 vote, was expected. The three provisions are expiring at month’s end. Rather than seriously debate or alter them, the House punted — the third failure by Congress in more than a year to address the law’s controversial issues.

The measure now goes before the Senate, which is likely to follow the House’s course on legislation that was hastily adopted following the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Here are the expiring provisions the House adopted:

• The “roving wiretap” provision allows the FBI to obtain wiretaps from a secret intelligence court, known as the FISA court (for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act), without identifying the target or what method of communication is to be tapped.

• The “lone wolf” measure allows FISA court warrants for the electronic monitoring of a person for whatever reason — even without showing that the suspect is an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist. The government has said it has never invoked that provision, but the Obama administration said it wanted to retain the authority to do so.

• The “business records” provision allows FISA court warrants for any type of record, from banking to library to medical, without the government having to declare that the information sought is connected to a terrorism or espionage investigation.

Illustration: American Civil Liberties Union

Just kidding about my earlier post. Of course we wouldn’t let the patriot act expire. With sites like Wikileaks and groups like anonymous running about, nothing is safe. Thank goodness we have the FBI, CIA, & NSA to protect us, right?

“There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.”


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