Patriot Act Extended for Another Year
It is interesting that President Obama has extended the Patriot Act for another year. As we reported in this post, Congress extended the sunset date of the most controversial provisions of the Act from Dec. 31, 2009 to Feb. 28, 2010.
It was reported at the time that this extension was enacted so that Congress could work on amending the Patriot Act in the direction of eliminating or impeding the most hated provisions of the Act.
Civil libertarians have long wanted the provisions allowing for roving wiretaps, “lone wolf” surveillance, and the use of national security letters to expire or be severely limited upon Patriot Act renewal after December 31, 2009.
In the Fall of 2009, the House passed a bill-HR 3845– that would have amended the Patriot Act in the direction favored by civil libertarians, allowing two of the disfavored provisions to sunset. However, The US Senate also passed its own version of the Patriot Act extension-S.1692. The Senate bill retained these provisions.
The 60- day extension that was passed in December, was originally enacted in order to allow Congress to work out their differences.
Apparently that never happened, and the bill that Obama signed on February 28 contained all the hated provisions. It was also passed in the Congress by maneuvering it through a labyrinthine route, as documented here.
The extension of the Act actually creates problems if there are to be any future reforms, as some of the Patriot Act’s opponents have recognized.