02.08.11

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Expiring Provisions Of The USA PATRIOT Act

“In less than three weeks, the current short-term extension of three authorities in the USA PATRIOT Act will expire.  The House of Representatives will vote later today to extend these expiring provisions until December.  It should not take an entire year to pass improvements to these provisions, which we should have adopted last year, and we should not extend this debate into an election year and risk that some will play politics with our national security.

“I do not support efforts to permanently extend these expiring provisions.  Nor do I support undercutting important oversight and government accountability of these intelligence gathering tools. Instead, I support strengthening oversight and providing the intelligence community the certainty it needs to protect national security. 

“The original USA PATRIOT Act included important sunsets that were supported by both Republicans and Democrats.  The USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act gives the intelligence community the certainty it needs by extending these expiring authorities through 2013, while also strengthening congressional and judicial oversight.  This legislation is the result of bipartisan negotiations two years ago.  This is the legislation I support, and that Congress should send to the President for his signature without delay.”

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