Judiciary Committee Approves Patriot Act Extension Measure

The Senate Judiciary Committee “on Thursday voted to extend until the end of 2013 three post-Sept. 11 terror-fighting practices that have raised concerns among civil liberties groups,” the AP reports.

At the same time, the legislation, which was approved on a 10-7, mainly party-line vote, would end in December 2013 the investigative tool known as National Security Letters that compel businesses to turn over customer records without a judge’s order.

Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., sought to answer criticisms of the provisions that would be extended — two from the post-Sept. 11 Patriot Act — by including new privacy and civil liberty safeguards and increasing oversight.

What’s being extended:

The measure would extend through 2013 the Patriot Act authorities to use roving wiretaps on multiple electronic devices and to obtain court-approved access to business records considered relevant to terrorist investigations.

It likewise extends authority for secret intelligence surveillance of non-American, "lone wolf" suspects not linked to specific terrorist groups, part of a 2004 intelligence act.

Earlier this year, Congress “agreed to a three-month extension that will expire on May 27.”

Senate Republicans have “called for extending the three provisions permanently.”

The only Judiciary Committee Republican to support Leahy’s bill was Sen. Mike Lee of Utah.


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Filed under Committees, Patriot Act

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