January 9, 2006 5:30 PM PST

Patriot Act defender touts 'safeguards'

The Patriot Act renewal's primary sponsor has kicked off a campaign intended to shine light on "civil liberties safeguards" he claims are contained in the latest draft.

The defense comes as Congress prepares to resume debate on a contentious "conference report." The measure has received backing from many Republicans but harsh criticism from a mostly Democratic contingent, particularly after news that President Bush had sanctioned wiretapping of American citizens without court approval.

The president and the Justice Department have long been pressuring politicians to renew the 2001 law in full, but the Senate last month succeeded in initiating a filibuster that delayed a final vote on the bill until politicians work out their differences.

In a last-minute compromise before politicians left for their holiday recess, 16 provisions of the existing law--including several dealing with Internet and electronic surveillance--garnered a one-month extension, setting an expiration date of Feb. 3.

Anticipating further discussion, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, the Wisconsin Republican who has led the House's Patriot Act reauthorization efforts, announced last week that he would begin "highlighting many of the dozens of civil liberties protections contained in the conference report that are not contained in current law."

Every day since Thursday, Sensenbrenner has issued statements pointing to one suggested safeguard. He said he'd continue to do so until the act's expiration date.

"I'm hopeful my colleagues in the Senate will utilize the remaining time until Feb. 3 to evaluate and debate this legislation on its merits, end this shameful filibuster, and support this vital national security law," he said in a statement.

So far, the bulk of Sensenbrenner's points refer to Section 215, sometimes called the "library" provision, which governs investigators' access to business and personal records. Sensenbrenner says the disputed conference report bakes in conditions that lead to stronger civil liberties protections than those contained in current law.

One such provision, he said, would require terrorism investigators to receive "personal approval" from the FBI director, deputy director or other chief intelligence officials before applying to a court for access to such records.

Another provision would require the attorney general to create "minimization procedures" aimed at cutting back on the retention time and spread of nonpublic information obtained about U.S. persons during investigations.

That particular provision "is not contained in current law and was requested by Sen. (Patrick) Leahy," Sensenbrenner said, referring to the Vermont Democrat who has since joined several colleagues in deeming the current conference report unacceptable. Leahy's office was unable to supply immediate comment.

The changes outlined by Sensenbrenner still fall short of expectations set forth by a coalition of nine senators--five Democrats and four Republicans--who have vowed again to push for further reforms.

In a letter sent last week to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, a Republican who will play a lead role in any future legislative jockeying, the nine senators wrote, "We still firmly believe that modest but critical changes can and must be made to the conference report to address the needs of law enforcement and protect the civil liberties of law-abiding Americans."

Six of those senators, including Sen. Russ Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat, and Sen. John Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican, already expressed their misgivings in documents issued last year and spearheaded the filibuster efforts.

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Since I can not say it any better
"The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either."
Benjamin Franklin
Posted by sumwatt (69 comments )
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Unless we put a stop to this
any american alive at this time, will get caught in the fallout!
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
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Safeguards?
Safeguards that are merely policies set by the agencies most likely to abuse the power? Allowing the director of the FBI to conduct the oversight for his own agency rather than the courts? These aren't safeguards at all, they're simply smoke and mirrors.
Posted by Michael Grogan (308 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HA HA!
Ha! Ha!,as nelson would say, for who polices the policeman, for since from time immemorial, they have been incapable of policing themselves, due to conflicts of interests!

So all self regulation, is but window dressing, with smoke and mirrors!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
More politicking
The two-faceness of politics makes me sick. There is nothing that these politicians will not say. Built in safeguards, ha. The chances of safeguards being in the Patriot Act are about as low as Bush being smart.
Posted by bobthepirate (5 comments )
Link Flag
We donot need safeguards...
... except from the misnamed Patriot Act. That POS is an attempt to overcome the sloth that seems to infect our "security" services. (Insecurity services?)

I note with chagrin that BEFORE the attacks of 9/11 the Government was in possession of analysis which said explicitly that Osama bin Laden was planning attacks on our soil, nut this was ignored. Also before the attack NSA(?) intercepted communications which under the intelligence then in hand indicated an immanent threat of attack and which any reasonable person could only interpret as requiring followup.

Unfortunately the communications were not translated until after 9/11. No Patriot Act was required to intercept these communications, but there are insufficient translators to keep up with the pre-9/11 intercepts. I have recently heard that there are thousands of un-heard tapes of intercepted calls.

We do not need to renew the Patriot Act, rather we need to utilize the resources we had before that abomination came along.
Posted by dlgehrt (9 comments )
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We do need the Patriot Act
to use it against those that would want to use it against the masses.
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
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Patriot Act
Thank God that we have common sense congressmen who support the Patriot Act and a president who has the courage to protect our people. We are in a war that we can't lose. Abraham Lincoln, who most people feel was a great president and patriot, had a congressman arrested and kicked out of the Union. Not legal or constitutional, but the President felt it was necessary for the war effort. Abe won and is now seen as a great man. If George wins he may also go down as a great president (I know this conflict will obviously go beyond his watch). No one knows for sure what history will record.
Posted by markallensmith (1 comment )
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You are deluded!
You've got your head in the sand. 9/11 was allowed to happen so Bush and company could slap us with a Patriot Act and drag us to a new world order.
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
Link Flag
U.S. Patriot Act
Much attention has been called to article 215 of the Patriot Act concerning Libraries. A far more dangerous provision of the Act that has recieved very little attention is the issuance of "National Security Letters." These are now being used at the rate of 30,000 a year since 9/11 up from 30 a year before that time. These "NSL's" DO NOT need a Court Approval or even a Supervisor's approval to be issued and encompass far more information than article 215.
The letters also come with a "Gag" order against revealing who they have been issued on and can be used for virtually ANY information on a "Suspect" held by ANYONE or ANY Business upto and including Doctors, Hospitals, Schools, Credit Cards and of course, ALL information collected from other Government sources. This most dangerous provision needs to be addressed before February 03,2006 when the Patriot Act will almost certainly be made permanent.
Posted by reddragon696 (10 comments )
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Been there done that!
Not long after the Patriot Act was issued, I was in a library in Ohio and the book police was breathing down my neck to see what I was looking at. When I told him his breath stunk, I was barred from the library permanently and told this is what happens to dissidents, and that if I gave him any problems, I'd be labeled a terrorist and held in jail until he decides otherwise.
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
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Setting all things else aside...
Patriot Act or not... Safeguards or not... our country will continue to do what's in it's own best interest.

And if it's best interest is keeping the public out of the know... then that's what it will do... for the betterment of our country.

Our country is not run by imbasils and it's not just one president's doing... it's a democracy and all parts of it are involved.

Screaming wolf when there isn't one won't do much good when a real wolf comes around.

We are currently at war against terror... as such... anything to thwart terrorism should be met with applaud... not grief!!!

Those screaming the loudest against it should be investigated as to what links they have supporting terrorism because all that will end up happening is tying our hands from doing what needs to be done in beaurocratic red tape. It helps the terrorists... but does nothing for us.

But the majority won't realize that until it's too late!

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
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So, why don't we go to war with the KKK? Oh, I forgot, the Potus is racist.
It is impossible to win a war on terrorism. The President knows this. It's part of his agenda to rule the world, and why would he want to put a timeline on that. He's going to drag this out as far as he can. He wants your body and soul and everything in between.
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
Link Flag
Where do these ideas come from?
Walt said: Patriot Act or not... Safeguards or not... our country will continue to do what's in it's own best interest.

"Our country" What an interesting, and ultimately empty statement. To what do you refer?

The people? how? The country in which we live is not democracy, it is a republic in form.

Our representatives? Who really feels as if their representatives are actually representing them as opposed to the corporations who fund their campaigns in exchange for [fill in your favorite corporate welfare program].

So maybe in fact our country is the corporations that seem to own the Federal Government.

Walt said: And if it's best interest is keeping the public out of the know... then that's what it will do... for the betterment of our country.

Hm-m-m. There maybe circumstances in which information should be kept from general knowledge, but the current administration is withholding information from OUR representatives in Congress. this is not good! The president is attempting to redefine the laws passed by "our" representatives and which he has signed, and further to say which laws or parts of laws he (as the chief executor of the laws) he will enforce.

Apparently all Nixon did was attempt a cover up of the wrong doing of some of his administration and a bit of illegal, warrantless bugging. The current incumbent president has publicly said he has authorized bugging with out a warrant in violation of the law passed after Watergate precisely to prevent this sort of warrantless domestic surveillance.

Walt said: Our country is not run by imbasils [sic] and it's not just one president's doing... it's a democracy and all parts of it are involved.

I disagree. Perhaps our country is not run by imbeciles. TheY are much more dangerous. They are supremely arrogant, marginally in[sic] competent people who wrap themselves in the flag, and have attempted to effectively arrogate to themselves the totality of the powers of the Federal Government.

I think you should spend some time getting informed about who is really involved [in charge]. We, the people are not involved in any way; because our representatives are not meaningfully involved in the definition or management of the "War on Terror".

Walt said: Screaming wolf when there isn't one won't do much good when a real wolf comes around.

Pull your head out. There are wolves, and they are at the top of the Federal Government.

Walt said: We are currently at war against terror... as such... anything to thwart terrorism should be met with applaud[sic]... not grief!!!

You have not thought that statement through. Really? Anything? I for one am concerned about YOUR loyalty and support for terrorism. I think putting you in GITMO for a few years without fooling around with due process would assuage my concerns. :-) I ask you again Walt, "Anything?"

Walt said: Those screaming the loudest against it should be investigated as to what links they have supporting terrorism because all that will end up happening is tying our hands from doing what needs to be done in beaurocratic [sic] red tape. It helps the terrorists... but does nothing for us.

What a crock of S--T!! I have no links or sympathies with terrorism, but I am seriously concerned about where the Bush, Cheney Rumsfeld Cabal is taking us. It is my right, and indeed my duty, as a citizen, to voice my opinion about our Government. You have the same right and duty. Neither of us should be subject to investigation for expressing our thoughts.

N.B. The is a difference between the bureaucracy and our legal instituions.

BTW, where were you when you should have been learning Civics? Conme to think of it where were Bush, chensy, Rumsfeld et alia.

Walt said: But the majority won't realize that until it's too late!

Hopefully people will be more alertand before it is too lste than to fall for the actions of the Cabal.

Walt

dlg
Posted by dlgehrt (9 comments )
Link Flag
Go Patriots!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.analogstereo.com/cassette_deck_pioneer_deh_p8000r.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.analogstereo.com/cassette_deck_pioneer_deh_p8000r.htm</a>
Posted by 208774626618253979477959487856 (176 comments )
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