US President Barack Obama signed a four-year extension of the Patriot Act late on May 26, minutes before it was set to expire. The bill passed the US Senate 72-23, and shortly after passed the US House of Representatives by a vote of 250-153. Although major congressional leaders of both parties had agreed to a clean extension of the act last week, delays were met when Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) filibustered the bill over the lack of an amendment process and serious concerns about privacy. After three days of filibustering, Paul received votes on two amendments that ultimately failed, both related to the ability of security officials to survey gun purchases. Controversial provisions renewed include provisions allowing the government to use roving wiretaps on multiple carriers and electronic devices and allowing the government to gain access to certain records relevant to its investigations. The “lone wolf” provision enables investigators to get warrants to conduct surveillance over targets not connected to any particular terrorist group.
From Jurist, May 27. Used with permission.
See our last post on the surveillance state.