Thursday, July 14, 2005

USA Patriot Act Dilution

After much debate over the USA Patriot Act's sunset provisions, the US House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees have proposed measures to dilute executive power and merely extend existing sunset provisions. This, of course, puts to a quick end the Bush Administration's Patriot Act Part II suggestions:
In particular, the House Judiciary Committee put a 10-year expiration date on the provision granting federal authorities the right to subpoena records from businesses, hospitals and libraries, as well as a provision allowing the government to continue to wiretap phones when suspects switch numbers.

The House Intelligence Committee approved making those provisions permanent, but only after adding measures to require additional judicial oversight of the subpoenas and search requests.

Both House committees declined to include a measure proposed this year by the Senate Intelligence Committee that would grant the investigators the right to use "administrative subpoenas" — effectively, the right to issue their own search warrants without getting a judge's approval first.
The USA Patriot Act renewal process is in its early stages however, so many are hopeful this is a good start in the right direction. I certainly hope this will lead the Senate to support more limitations and perhaps by the time it comes to a Joint Session, the USA Patriot Act may keep it potency and have additional oversight.

I hope congress will continue its examination of the SAFE Act. Co-sponsor the SAFE Act petition and show your support.


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