Bipartisan Senate Group Seeks More Patriot Act Safeguards


A tentative deal to extend federal antiterrorism powers under the USA Patriot Act appeared in jeopardy as Senate Democrats threatened to filibuster, the New York Times reports. “This is worth the fight,” said Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-Wi.) “I’ve cleared my schedule right up to Thanksgiving,” he said. Congressional negotiators had been expected to reach a final, printed agreement by yesterday. Negotiators reached an impasse for the day, as those from the Senate pushed for further civil rights safeguards that were seen as unacceptable to House leaders.

The tentative deal reached by negotiators would make permanent 14 of the 16 provisions of the law that are set to expire at the end of the year. Yesterday, a bipartisan group of six senators said the tentative deal had caused them “deep concern” because it did not go far enough in “making reasonable changes to the original law to protect innocent people from unnecessary and intrusive government surveillance.” The group called for tighter restrictions on the government’s ability to demand records and its use of so-called “sneak and peak” warrants to conduct secret searches without immediately informing the target, among other measures.


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