Friday, February 10, 2006

Patriot Act Compromise Clears Way for Senate Vote

WaPo Efforts to extend the USA Patriot Act cleared a major hurdle yesterday when the White House and key senators agreed to revisions that are virtually certain to secure Senate passage and likely to win House approval, congressional leaders said.
I think they gave too much, and hope the House agrees.
Several Democrats said the compromise announced yesterday lacks important civil liberties safeguards, and even the Republican negotiators said they had to yield to the administration on several points. But with virtually all 55 GOP senators now on board, and Democrats joining them, the plan appears to have enough support to overcome the Senate filibuster that has thwarted a four-year renewal of the statute for months. Senators said they think the White House will be able to coax the Republican-controlled House to agree as well, even though House leaders have complained that senators' demands had weakened the measure.
The Senate has too many weak kneed RINOs.
The proposal would restrict federal agents' access to library records, one of the Patriot Act's most contentious provisions. A form of secret subpoena known as a National Security Letter could no longer be used to obtain records from libraries that function "in their traditional capacity, including providing basic Internet access," Sununu and others said in a statement. But libraries that are "Internet service providers" would remain subject to the letters, Durbin said.
So terrorists wanting to use the library's internet connection to get their instructions need to be sure the library does not also sell Internet Access (what libraries do act as an ISP???)
The Senate proposal would no longer require National Security Letter recipients to tell the FBI the identity of their lawyers.
As long as they get the information the National Security Letter asks for, why do they need to know the identity of their lawyers.
The compromise bill also addresses "Section 215 subpoenas," which are granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court. Recipients of such subpoenas originally were forbidden to tell anyone about the action. The proposed Senate measure would allow them to challenge the "gag order" after one year, rather than the 90-day wait in earlier legislation.
That is no too bad, since in a year they hopefully will have the info necessary to arrest.
Sununu said the administration insisted on the longer waiting period. "You now have a process to challenge the gag order," he said, defending the concession. "That didn't exist before."
The main bad thing, IMHO, is on the library internet connection. Why should terrorists be able to use the library internet computers to get their instructions.

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