"Authority to Spy on Americans Unclear as Patriot Act Expires"Submitted by Iron-man01 on Tue, 12/01/2009 - 00:20
Rushed into law by Congress just weeks after Sept. 11, 2001 three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act granting officials far-reaching surveillance and seizure powers in the name of national security, are due to expire this New Year's Eve.
"This critical legislation protects our national security, as well as our civil liberties, and the clock is ticking," said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., an author of President Bush's 2001 Patriot Act and former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee during the Bush administration.
Sensenbrenner urged the House and Senate to act quickly in reauthorizing the provisions before they expire at the end of this year...........
That timing is unclear. With so few weeks left in the year and the health care debate just beginning in the Senate, it's possible that Congress will first vote for a temporary extension to prevent certain Patriot Act authorities from sunsetting, according to an aide.
With full support from the Obama administration, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill last month reauthorizing the law that has in recent years sparked much controversy over rights to privacy protected under the Constitution, with some minor tweaks.
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