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House Fails to Extend Patriot Act Spy Powers

schwit1 (797399) writes | more than 3 years ago

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schwit1 (797399) writes "The House failed to extend three key expiring provisions of the Patriot Act on Tuesday, elements granting the government broad and nearly unchecked surveillance power on its own public.

  The “roving wiretap” provision allows the FBI to obtain wiretaps from a secret intelligence court, known as the FISA court, 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.

The failure of the bill, sponsored by Rep. James F. Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis), for the time being is likely to give airtime to competing measures in the Senate that would place limited checks on the act's broad surveillance powers. The White House, meanwhile, said it wanted the expiring measures extended through 2013."

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