Senate votes for short-term extension of PATRIOT Act provisions

By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 20:51 EDT
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The US Senate voted Tuesday to extend three controversial provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act until May 27.

The vote came a day after the House passed a 10-month extension of the same USA PATRIOT Act provisions that were set to expire at the end of February.

The Senate passed the extension by a 86 to 12 vote.

The House and Senate bills both extend the roving wiretap provision, the “lone wolf” measure and the “library records” provision. The three provisions allow authorities to conduct surveillance without identifying the person or location to be wiretapped, permits surveillance of “non-US” persons who are not affiliated with a terrorist group, and lets the government gain access to “any tangible thing” during investigations, respectively.

The Senate had been considering three different bills to extend the provisions, but members of the Senate agreed to pass a short-term extension to give Congress more time to debate the bills. The Congress will be in recess next week, leaving Senators little time to debate the legislation.

The three provisions have been criticized by both liberals and conservatives. Before the vote Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) warned that extending them could turn America into a “police state.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced legislation that would extend the provisions for three more years. Another bill introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) would extend the expiring provisions through 2013 while also increasing judicial oversight of government surveillance powers. The third bill, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), would make the three provisions permanent.

“I support strengthening oversight while providing the intelligence community the certainty it needs to protect national security,” Sen Leahy said. “The bill I hope we will consider before May 27 would give the intelligence community the certainty it needs by extending these expiring authorities while also strengthening congressional and judicial oversight.”

“The House bill we are amending was not the product of bipartisan agreement, or even an open debate in the House,” he added. “It would extend the PATRIOT Act without improvement for the rest of the year. That is too little for too long.”

Michelle Richardson, American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel, said that while Sen. Leahy’s bill adds some important oversight to the PATRIOT Act, “it unfortunately allows many dangerous provisions to continue.”

“Since its passage nearly a decade ago, the Patriot Act has been used improperly again and again by law enforcement to invade Americans’ privacy and violate their constitutional rights,” he continued. “Rather than allow these provisions to be rubberstamped in February, Congress should seize this opportunity to make reforming the Patriot Act a priority.”

Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) voted against the three month extension. Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) did not vote.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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  • gypski®

    After May let it fucking die. We did fine without it. We knew Bin Laden was going to pull some shit without the Anti-Patriot Act.

  • Robert Shaftoe

    Man oh man, isn’t it interesting this bill ends just a week after the world is supposed to end LOL:


    Could it really mean that once the rapture-ists are gone, we won’t need the Patriot Act since all the domestic terrorist loons will be taken up up and away?

    OK, I only said that to keep myself from getting really depressed over the fact that our Senate, our Democratically-led Senate, has voted for this piece of crap. Only last week I was giving Tea Baggers a hard time because their very vocal leaders said one thing, and voted a different way (they voted, along party lines, with the GOP in the majority, to extend the Patriot Act).

    Kudos to Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), Mike Lee (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Patty Murray (D-WA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for voting against this bill.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/RepublicConstitution?feature=mhum TruthRegimes

    Well, looks like we have found 86 more traitors. http://republicconstitution.blogspot.com/ Any mindless leftist or clueless rightwinger who supported this act HATES the Constitution and is probably an Islamophobe.

  • CozmicSeer

    These are the acts of desperation on their part. They know that most of the American people have turned against them and they are trying to put these despicable acts into place so they can use them further to intimidate us. It seems that the American government is making enemies in every country, including ours. It is just another proof that the country our founding fathers put into place has been hijacked by psychopaths who are intent on destroying that ideal. At least there are some who are willing to stand up for us. The rest of them need to be removed from office and never allowed any position of power again.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TF72KWIG5DGSPE3ZXDK6FX4KTQ Robert Burned

    This law is illegitimate. So are the Senate and House of Representatives.

    There is no law and no valid authority in the United States of America.

  • hourglass1

    just sent aclu some cash.
    they get some things wrong to my mind – but in the end, we need the aclu applying what laws remain intact for all.

  • Anonymous

    Once again the Pauls strike out! Such leadership, such grandstanding, such failtures, maybe if Randi Paul would have brought his hand picked Kentucky ruffians in to stomp a few women’s heads or bash some other heads against the walls in the Senate chamber he could have gotten his way! Oh well, maybe when his daddy joins him there they can do some kind of Texas secessionist two-step and get something accomplished, like their favorite past time: investigating the Fed ad infinitum.

  • hourglass1

    “oath of office” eh? honor-less whores and devotees of oligarchy, avarice, greed and self-interest …

  • Anonymous

    Once again the Republicans showed they are far more likely to vote to take people’s rights away than the Democrats are!

  • http://twitter.com/oldivory OLD IVORY

    OK, lay it all out here: I support Wikileaks, I support Anonymous, I support gay marriage, I support unions for workers whose work could jeopardize their or others’ lives. I am a senior citizen with an ivy league graduate degree who has gone through menopause and come out crazier than when entered. I have lost most of my work because people can no longer afford my services. I dye my hair and read Naomi Wolfe, Chomsky, Zinn, and the World Socialist Web Site. I don’t see a difference between socialized medicine and the socialized grade school education we have already. I roll my own cigarettes and play music in church every Sunday morning. I was born in an Army Camp where they gave my mother “vitamin” shots every day of my gestation. My first job offer after grad school was to produce propaganda videos for the Army and I refused the job. I believe that my country is undergoing the same kind of brain washing that I heard the USSR engaged in when I was a child. I see no reason to have the 10 Commandments in courthouses because those who can read don’t care about them and those who cannot read don’t care about them. I believe you cannot regulate morality; even the regulators (Congress) cannot control their personal morality. I believe the best way to control people is to keep them dumb. I do not paint my toe nails or shave my legs in the winter. I believe generation X hates the Baby Boomers the way generation Z is going to hate generation X. I believe that giving military personnel vaccine for non contagious afflictions like anthrax is bogus and against our rights as human beings. The best friends I have ever had were Afro-American, or Iranian or old and crippled. I am caucasian, pinkish, not white. I am not a liberal, not a conservative, I am a human being. If there is anything I should be afraid of let me know. I’m in the book.

  • Anonymous

    The thing that pisses me off most about this totally GARBAGE legislation is that the Democrats that are supposed to be the majority in the Senate should have shown some spine and said “NOT ONLY NO BUT HELL NO. I would expect the Rethugs to go along because Constitutional rights are not on their priority list but the Dems are supposed to be protectors of individual rights.

  • http://twitter.com/aipfan aipfan

    Wow. I’m shocked Mike Lee broke from the Republicans. Good for him.

  • Anonymous

    Gee, what a shock.

    We are a feudal nation. A population of serfs, whose masters have created the theater of the electoral process. Real change can NEVER happen. Were enough genuine reformists (if we could even agree on a definition for that title) elected to actually effect substantive change, we’d see them get killed, scandal-sasinated, or something similar.

    Capitalism is a fraud. A lie agreed upon. A lie so deep that good, sincere, intelligent people genuinely believe it is something other than a system of organized exploitation designed by and for the ruling class.

    This is not and never has been anything even CLOSE to a representative democracy. Democracy is the LAST thing that can be allowed to develop in a system that is at it’s heart a pyramid scheme that REQUIRES a massive pool of (essentially) slave labor.

    The system protects itself, and those it was created to serve. The government’s monopoly on violence is it’s ONLY source of ‘legitimacy’.

    And we (most of us) thank them for it, and wave out little fabric squares, content in the knowledge that ours is the pinnacle of civilization.


    What a sick, evil joke.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IPV6LRYFLBF6AYBLXYMS6L3XGQ chris

    You’re telling me Al Franken voted for that piece of shit?

  • realnewz

    This law is illegitimate because what the UNPatriot Act does is allow for a suspension of warrants, subpeonas and habeas corpus. Its like a rogue survellience army with no over sight and as such no regard for the rule of law.

    There is nothing wrong with collecting intelligence on suspected terrorist but there is already a method in place for investigating suspected criminals under the law. Especially, when there is probable cause. This is another illegality of the UNPatriot Act because the govt can now legally spy on people without just cause.

    I saw the House debate on the UNPatriot Act on CSPAN and the gop used the fact that roving wiretaps are already used by police when investigating suspected criminals specifically drug dealers, as a reason for justifying why it is ok to have roving wiretaps of anybody suspected of terrorism.

    But the UNPatriot Act loosely defines what is a ‘terrorist’ is and again does not follow the rule of law in accordance with subpeonas/warrants probably because there is NO probable cause.
    Why else wouldnt they want to obtain a warrant/subpeona?

    The gop also argued that there have been no incidences of abuse of the UNPatriot Act as a reason of why it is a functioning Act. But, Dennis Kucinich and another dem said it is difficult to know if there is any abuse because the surveillence activity of the UNPatriot Act is kept secret.

    The gop also questioned the timing of this debate near the deadline and why the house dem majority voted to extend the UNPatriot Act last year.

    This is probably a concoction by the politicans to give the appearance of a fair, democratic debate in govt. to appease the section of the public frusterated with govt and make dem look slightly better than gop but not by much. I bet if Nixon were alive he be laughing his a*” off !

  • Anonymous

    Three months for debate then, while the Tea Party addresses the cognitive dissonance of “Constitution, Constitution, Constitution!” while they allow the Fourth Amendment to get kicked to curb as if it didn’t matter. Hard to say what part of “…but upon probable cause” or “…secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects” they don’t get, but they should join with the Libertarians and the Left to reform this bill severely, so it’s effect is no longer to declare each of 310 million Americans potential terrorists.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TF72KWIG5DGSPE3ZXDK6FX4KTQ Robert Burned

    God, girl, if y’all exist after all–please STOMP on these pious frauds and all the fake progressives who LUV them Libertarian Delusions just so DARN much ….

  • http://thepoliticalbandit.com/ William Cormier

    Dear U.S. Congress;

    Fuck You. There isn’t a single “patriot” amongst you who voted for this unconstitutional legislation. How dare you claim to support “Egypt Patriots” while constantly undermining our own constitution and the rule of law. We know which you chose; rule by “Fear” or by “law…”

    Goddamn cowards and thieves…

  • Anonymous

    This has to stop. If the government won’t do anything about it, then we have got to take matters into our own hands.

    How could this possibly pass the Senate? I’m still furious over the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and I become more outraged everyday.

  • Anonymous

    911 was a staged new Pearl Harbor to advance Neocon PNAC empire and hegemony. There were these pesky things called the constitution and bill of rights. The Patriot Act has taken care of those. The peoples lack of spine is putting the final nails in the coffin. Col Wilkerson, Colin Powells aide traveled the country apologizing for the UN presentation he prepared on Iraq. He said Bush and Cheney should have been impeached. There should be no doubt left in any sentient beings mind that the case for attacking Iraq was a sham. Treason and war crimes have been committed and lay unpunished at our feet. Bush couldn’t catch or kill Bin Laden because he was on our payroll and the Saudis and Bin Laden family said ixnay. Pappy Bush gets the medal of freedom after spending a life time on the Bush family project to destroy the New Deal. Kennedy Kennedy King and how many more. Rise up America the barbarians and thugs are winning.

  • Anonymous

    The senate’s new “reality” show, coming on CSPAN—-”The Great Race To The Bottom.”

  • Anonymous

    What a bunch of fascist treasonous corrupt bastards we have in our government. Throw them ALL out. Disgusting.

  • Anonymous

    and once again the American people lose.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    If the Arabs weren’t busy fighting their dictators, they could have been laughing at the monumental irony. The Arabs rebel and fight the good fight for democracy while their Amerikkkan counterparts allow their own government to spy on them, sexually molest them at airports, arrest them, wipe their civil rights, trash their Constitution, rob, rape and ridicule them all under the guise of protecting them from…hmmm…those rascally Muslims who are busy protesting to topple their US-backed dictators. I tell you, you just can’t make this shit up!

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Besides, Osama bin Laden is busy at the present time fighting peaceful protesters who want to topple their US-backed dictators all over the Middle East.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ZDBCUTOR7XW24NTIF7XEHLJ34Q Oz

    Once the feds take on an authority or a power they never give it up, and this has been going on since Lincoln.

    At the same time they want to cut any program that benefits the poor while continuing to cling to the Empire and the Global War using Communism, Drugs, and now Terror. It’s the bipartisan Royalist that America needs to fear.

  • Rush Goofbaugh

    86 votes against the people… traitors!

  • http://twitter.com/Covert4Liberty Brimstone Hill

    This should be a wake up call to all you naysayers that are caught up in your party/partisan paradigm.
    These so called representatives from both parties are an absolute abomination.
    They work for the Corporation, which is made up by Weapons, Oil and Banking Cabals.
    While War, Banking and Weapons Criminals walk free from all their criminality,
    You, the American Serf are left holding the Bag.
    Wake the Fuck Up and stop voting for the same old tired charlatan hacks.

  • http://twitter.com/PeterNoTail Peter No Tail

    Not a single Tea Party-Republican (or Democrat) filibustered this extension of clearly unconstitutional piece of legislation.

    Just pointing that out for the teabaggers and the other new converts of right-wing libertarianism. The fix is in & you been had… hoodwinked… bamboozled.

  • Anonymous

    Especially Durbin and Ried.

  • http://twitter.com/Howieisright Howieisright

    Maybe not filibuster but I know 2 that have challenged, debated, and did the best the could to try to stop it.
    Filibuster would only cost more taxpayer money and draw criticism.

  • http://twitter.com/PeterNoTail Peter No Tail

    “Filibuster would only cost more taxpayer money and draw criticism. “Preventing the passage of unconstitutional legislation that strikes at the heart of individual liberty takes a back seat if any monetary cost is involved? Jesus, you make it sound worse than I do. What’s the cap on upholding the Constitution? At what price range does it become unacceptable to defend liberty?

  • Anonymous

    The terrorist are jealous of our freedoms that’s why they hate us. And this patriot act just proves how free we are. It’s also called patriot and if you don’t support it you ain’t no patriot, you terroist bastards. We are a shining beacon of exceptionalism here in America alright. USA USA USA. I like how the shiny 50 million dollar fighter jets fly over the football game and nascar races. Makes me proud we are killing Arabs and the Jews are our best friends. I think i’ll go out and get me a a $500,000 mo0rtgage cause our new negro president says this awful recession is over. I used to be a republican but now I’m a democrat. I just love that Obama.He is such a good speaker.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/42THFKXIPMJHQBIH6OPI4RVIDY Thebes

    The DEMOCRATIC Senate did this to us.
    Next our DEMOCRAT Prez will sign it, though he wanted it to be for even longer.

    We have a One Party system. The Big Business War Party. It has two factions that differ only in how they want to divy up the loot!

  • http://twitter.com/Howieisright Howieisright

    Still just silly to discredit someones work when they obviously tried allot more than most did. And what do you think a filibuster would have done exactly? I am against the act as many others are as well. But instead of costing tax payers and having the bill pass any way. The solution is to elect better politicians make sure you know where they stand. Most will lie like the one who is president now but at least you tried.

  • http://twitter.com/PeterNoTail Peter No Tail

    “Still just silly to discredit someones work when they obviously tried allot more than most did.”

    Noting the inconvenient fact that not one member of the Senate filibustered means I discredited someone… how?You’re being a little too defense here. Have you just been mugged by reality?

  • Anonymous

    Open your eyes, Thebes and others, this isn’t about Republicans versus Democrats. They both serve the same masters (not the American public). The election of Obama who is merely GWB with a different skin color and even more devious makes this especially clear.

    Since it makes no difference which candidate you vote for, you are going to get the same poison either way, I propose a movement to BOYCOTT the next presidential election. This would send a powerful message to those that are betraying us.