• United States



by Janice Brand

Patriot Act Extended Somewhat

Dec 23, 20051 min
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

In what the New York Times called a postponement of the debate, Congress extended on Thursday the broad antiterrorism bill known as the USA Patriot Act by five weeks after the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee balked at a longer extension.

According to the AP, most of the Patriot Act — which expanded the government’s surveillance and prosecutorial powers against suspected terrorists, their associates and financiers — was made permanent when Congress overwhelmingly passed it after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington.

Making permanent the rest of the Patriot Act powers, says the AP, like the roving wiretaps that allow investigators to listen in on any telephone and tap any computer they think a target might use, has been a priority of the administration and Republican lawmakers.

Some civil liberties safeguards had been inserted into legislation for renewing that law. However, Senate Democrats and a small group of GOP senators blocked it anyway, arguing that more safeguards were needed.

–Janice Brand