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Senate Adopts Patriot Act Reauthorization Without Necessary Reforms


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Guest ACLU.org

The American Civil Liberties Union expressed profound disappointment with the Senate vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act without including common sense reforms to bring that law in line with the Constitution by restoring checks and balances. The House is expected to adopt a bill next week to amend the Patriot Act reauthorization bill conference report it passed last December.

 

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office.

 

"The Senate today failed to take steps to fully protect the fundamental freedoms and privacy of all Americans. The Patriot Act contains too many intrusive powers that lack meaningful checks and balances. We applaud the efforts of those Senators who sought to include much needed reforms in the Patriot Act reauthorization bill and stood firm in their commitment to protect our freedoms. The Patriot Act debate is far from over: secret record searches must be reformed so they are focused on suspected foreign terrorists and not used to invade the private records of ordinary Americans. Congress can, and must, take steps to fix the Patriot Act to keep America both safe and free."

 

To read more about the ACLU’s concerns with the Patriot Act, go to:

http://www.reformthepatriotact.org

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Guest DOJ.GOV

Statement of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales

on the Passage of the USA Patriot Act

 

“Since the terrible attacks of September 11, 2001, the Department of Justice’s highest priority has been to protect Americans by preventing acts of terrorism. I applaud Congress for reauthorizing each and every expiring provision of the USA PATRIOT Act and providing additional tools to fight terrorism and other serious crimes."

 

“This reauthorization is the product of nearly a year of serious debate and congressional oversight -- an important process that demonstrated that the USA PATRIOT Act is critical to our ongoing efforts to protect Americans. This review also confirmed that the Department of Justice has used the investigative tools provided by the Act in a responsible manner. The reauthorization bill makes permanent vital provisions -- including those that helped dismantle the ‘wall’ between intelligence and law enforcement -- and also adds dozens of civil liberties safeguards. Importantly, the legislation provides additional tools for protecting our mass transportation systems and seaports from attack; takes steps to combat the methamphetamine epidemic that is sweeping our country; and closes dangerous loopholes in our ability to prevent terrorist financing. Finally, the reauthorization bill provides for the creation of a National Security Division at the Department of Justice, enabling us to more effectively fulfill our vital national security mission. We all can be proud of this legislation.”

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