09.15.09

Leahy Announces Hearing To Review Expiring PATRIOT Act Provisions

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced today that the Committee will hold an oversight hearing to review expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, which was first passed by Congress in 2001.  The Act was reauthorized in 2006.

Three provisions in the Act are slated to expire on December 31, 2009, including the authorizations for roving wiretaps, the “lone wolf” measure, and the business records provision, commonly referred to as the “library” provision.

In March, Leahy sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting the views of the Department of Justice and the administration on the expiring provisions.  During a Judiciary Committee oversight hearing in June, Leahy again asked Holder to address the Department’s views on the expiring provisions.  In a letter sent to Leahy on September 14, the Department of Justice indicated that it is supportive of reauthorizing the expiring provisions, and will work with Congress in considering additional proposals to add increased privacy protections.

“I am pleased that the Justice Department has signaled its willingness to work with Congress in addressing the expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act,” said Leahy.  “It is important that Congress and the executive branch work together to ensure that we protect both our national security and our civil liberties.  The Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next week to determine how we can best do this, and I look forward to hearing further from the administration and parties on all sides of this issue.”

The hearing entitled “Reauthorizing the USA PATRIOT Act: Ensuring Liberty and Security” will be held on Wednesday, September 23, at 10:00 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.  Witness testimony will be available online.  The hearing will be webcast live.

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