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US House and Senate Approve Extension for Patriot Act

February 27, 2010

This week, both the US House of Representative and the Senate voted to extend the Patriot Act for an additional year. The House voted 315 to 97 to extend major provisions of the USA Patriot Act.

The three sections of the Patriot Act that would stay in force are:

  • Authorize court-approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones.
  • Allow court-approved seizure of records and property in anti-terrorism operations.
  • Permit surveillance against a so-called “lone wolf,” a non-U.S. citizen engaged in terrorism who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group.

The American Civil Liberties Union Responded by saying, “Congress refuses to make reforming the Patriot Act a priority and continues to punt this crucial issue down the road. Once again, we have missed an opportunity to put the proper civil liberties and privacy protections into this bill. Congress should respect the rule of law and should have taken this opportunity to better protect the privacy and freedom of innocent Americans. We shouldn’t have to live under these unconstitutional provisions for another year.”

In addition, the ACLU acknowledged that, “Since the Patriot Act’s passage in 2001, there have been several consecutive reports (including one released in January) from the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General that have outlined widespread and blatant abuse of the statute.”

This is just the most recent example of despite both the House and the Senate being a majority of Democrats that progressive action is not taking place in Washington, DC.

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