Patriot Act Amendments Disappoint Civil Libertarians
Though the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week included lots of expressed concern that the USA Patriot Act compromises civil liberties, the version of the bill being debated in that committee today fails to adequately address the problems, argues Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and the American Civil Liberties Union.
According to the ACLU, the committee substituted the original language of the bill with “a watered-down version” offered by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). An alternative bill, sponsored by Feingold and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), known as the JUSTICE Act, would have added civil liberties protections not only to the Patriot Act but also to other surveillance laws.
Earlier today, Feingold similarly expressed disappointment that the bill currently being debated in the committee would not adequately provide information about how the FBI is using its authority, and would not sufficiently limit the use of national security letters, which allow the FBI to obtain customer information from businesses and prevent them from disclosing the requests to their customers.