03.14.11

Fraternal Order Of Police Supports Leahy-Authored PATRIOT Reauthorization Bill

WASHINGTON (Monday, March 14, 2011) – Legislation to extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act received the backing of one of the nation’s largest law enforcement organizations Monday when the Fraternal Order of Police wrote to Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) endorsing S. 193, the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act.

“I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for S. 193,” wrote Chuck Canterbury, the national president of the Fraternal Order of Police.  “The legislation passed by the Committee on the Judiciary Committee makes minor changes to the law but these reflect current practices already in place and in use in terrorist investigations.  The bill will maintain tools used by law enforcement just as they do now without additional barriers or legal loopholes…It is our hope that the full Senate will act quickly on the legislation in the coming weeks – well before we get closer to the expiration of these important provisions.”

At a meeting on March 10, a bipartisan majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to send the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act to the full Senate for consideration.  The legislation will extend until December 2013 three intelligence-gathering tools now set to expire on May 27:  Roving wiretaps, the “lone wolf” measure, and section 215 orders for tangible things, commonly referred to as the “library records” provision.  The legislation also strengthens privacy and civil liberties safeguards, increases oversight, and includes an important sunset on National Security Letters, the use of which has received increased scrutiny in recent years. 

“The USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act will protect the legitimate needs of law enforcement and the intelligence community, while bolstering Americans’ confidence that the national security tools it authorizes are used with proper oversight,” said Leahy.  “The Attorney General has testified that this bill strikes the ‘right balance,’ and the intelligence community has indicated there are no operational concerns with this legislation.  I welcome the FOP’s support for this commonsense legislation, and hope the Senate will act on this important bill soon.”

The USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act was introduced by Leahy on January 26, and mirrors legislation reported by a bipartisan majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee in October 2009.  That legislation was also backed by the Obama administration, and the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence wrote to congressional leaders endorsing the bill. 

The text of the Fraternal Order of Police’s letter on S. 193 is available online.

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