Senate Panel Votes to Expand the Patriot Act

June 7, 2005 7:22 PM PDT
Senate panel votes to expand Patriot Act

Forget scaling back the Patriot Act.

Instead, the controversial post-9/11 law would be expanded to give the FBI new powers to demand documents from companies without a judge’s approval, according to a vote late Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence committee.

The final text of the Senate Intelligence committee’s amendments was not immediately available (here’s a draft dated last month), and reporters were barred from the secret session during which the vote was held.

But the proposal appears to grant the FBI more power to seek information from banks, hospitals, libraries, and so on through “administrative subpoenas” without prior judicial oversight. The subpoenas are only supposed to be used for terrorism or clandestine intelligence cases.

One other detail: the FBI may designate that the subpoenas are secret and punish disclosure of their existence with up to one year in prison (and five years if the disclosure is deemed to “obstruct an investigation.”)

In testimony in April, FBI director Robert Mueller said: “The administrative subpoena power would be a valuable complement to (existing) tools and provide added efficiency to the FBI’s ability to investigate and disrupt terrorism operations and our intelligence gathering efforts.”

The ACLU denounced the Senate Intelligence committee’s vote. “In a move antithetical to our Constitution, the new ‘administrative subpoena’ authority would let the FBI write and approve its own search orders for intelligence investigations, without prior judicial approval,” the group said in a statement. “Americans have a reasonable expectation that their federal government will not gather records about their health, their wealth and the transactions of their daily life without probable cause of a crime and without a court order.”

In theory, the expand-the-Patriot-Act bill now goes to the Senate floor for a vote. But some negotiations are likely to take place between the Intelligence and Judiciary committee, and that could affect the final form of the legislation.

Posted by Declan McCullagh

The above taken from this article.

12 thoughts on “Senate Panel Votes to Expand the Patriot Act

  1. You know what really twists my knickers?  If they’re going to curtail the 4th Amendment they should at least have the decency to do it in public so we can know who to thank.  The further irony is that the administration that wants full priviledge to know what you read thinks it’s an invasion of executive privacy for us to know who they conferred with for energy policy.

    So to all you feds out there reading this free speech loking for terrorist plots…  Fuck you very much!

  2. Stay tuned for other disgraces against the Constitution and common rights.

  3. I do support the current iteration of the Patriot Act, but i do not support its extension.  The Patriot Act was a sane, necessary, and fairly wise idea.  But, i think we need to now focus on different kinds, more pervasive forms of common-security.

    I don’t think many people who opposed the Patriot Act fully appreciate the era in which we’ve entered:

    [] We will, most likely, lose multiple cities to an attack by Islamic Extremists within the next 1-30 years.
    [] A nation-wide, or at least multi-region biological attack (think viral in nature) will most likely happen within the scope of the current War.

    Most Americans, unfortunately, believe that the lack of another attack on the scale of 9/11 somehow means that the Islamic Extremists are no longer capable of such.  This is painfully naive.

    The next attack will, according to alQaeda propaganda, focus on multiple cities and be co-ordinated in multiple theatres, such as Europe, NAMerica *and* Gulf Region—all on the same day, same hour.  (This the hallmark of all alQaeda operations, hourly percision of multiple attacks.)

    In the past i’ve been a strong advocate for widespread use of CCTV, surveilence cameras, phonecams, and personal-wearable-webcams.  I also believe that the constant archiving of public transactions in an anonymous fashion (except with a judge’s time-n-scope consent), and making them anonymously available to all, is a necessary, and beneficial, policy.  But, more importantly, i believe what you do within your home is strictly you and your co-habitants’ personal, hyper-private concern.

    —> In short, dramatically expand home-privacy while archiving all public actions and transactions.  Make this archive widely mineable by all, while preserving anonymity to all but a judge and his agents.

    The Patriot Act in large part was about sending a message to Islamic Extremists that 1) we are governmentally capable of responding to their threat (they believed otherwise), and 2) we could do so without radically transforming our judicial and civil-security methods (e.g., martial law, temporary suspension of bill-o-rights, etc.—all typical euro/world responses to a scale of 9/11version1).  It also enabled various law enforcements agencies to circumvent the technology-advantage that the Islamic Extremists were so savvly using (e.g., buying disposable cellphones, webcafes) to organize and deploy their plots.  The message was sent (and recieved) and we were able to eliminate (and source and continue to track, even now) homeland-stationed terrorist cells via the Patriot Act.  But, just as the enemy changes methods, so must we.

    Many the the Islamic Extremists now operating within enemy-states no longer use private methods of communication.  It’s all very, very public.  Emails? Text message? Cellphone call?  Nope.  You’d be insane, especially with all the Heavenly Giant Scoop.  They now rely upon markedly non-tech methods, like social-daisy-chains, dead-drops, and the guise of cultural-religious events to meet and pass messages and material.

    This is why, barring a private home (owned or rented), all public venues (street, library, store, civic hall, church/temple/mosque, school, forest, and lonely valley) should be constantly monitored—- and publicly archived.

    Additionally, transactions and purchases of all sorts should be recorded.  While this archive would be publicly viewable by all (for market research, interest, academic purposes, etc.) the actual transaction would be anonymous.  Meaning, while your face and actions would be open to all for viewing, your purchase of Big Titties at Larry’s Fun Parlor, 1552 Central Ave, Scarsdale, NY at 23:40 on 12/03/06 would be anonymous—to all but a judge and his agents.  This system would be a massively priceless resource to the public, but would also dramatically enhance common-security.

    While a Timothy McVeigh could easily assemble his feterlizer bomb within the privacy of his garage, his purchase of so many precursors (vehicle rental, industrial size plastic vats, etc.) would have warranted more detailed scrutiny of his public transactions, and those of his associations.

    If we’re gonna protect our public gatherings, we need to monitor both individuals and groups in the public sphere—in a massively widespread and detailed manner.

  4. If we’re gonna protect our public gatherings, we need to monitor both individuals and groups in the public sphere—in a massively widespread and detailed manner.

    Congratulations… You have just reinvented good old Soviet Union and East Germany with addition of China and North Korea!
    Hitler, Mao, Stalin and associates would be proud of you.

    Looks really like there are other President Clark,Earth Alliance/Nightwatch fans than Dubya…

    “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.”
    “The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them”
    -George Orwell

    “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”
    -Teddy Roosevelt

    “Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.”
    -George Bernard Shaw

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
    -Thomas Jefferson


  5. The majority of the surveillance and information that can be gathered is no different under the Patriot Act than it was pre-9/11.  The biggest change is that now there is little judicial oversight required to do so…they need only claim “homeland security concerns” or “terrorist investigation” to get cart blanch access to library records, multiple phone taps and the like.  Just because they claim that level of unfettered access is not being abused is certainly no guarantee that it isn’t.

  6. WOW, Rob! Have you read the Patriot Act?  It’s VERY scary (and long).  Civil rights don’t erode overnight (unless it’s martial law).  They erode gradually, bit by bit.  People give a little bit away each time so they can feel “safe”.  Today, it’s to save you from terrorists, tommorow it’s to save you from someone who speaks out against the government.  The government won’t protect you, nor will giving up your rights.

    Besides, “terrorism” is a relatively new concept to Americans.  Others around the world (Isreal & Ireland are two SMALL examples) have been dealing with this for years!  Maybe we should have looked to the international community for examples far before 9/11 happened.  Maybe 9/11 wouldn’t have happened had we not been arrogant enough to think that what happens in someone else’s backyard, wouldn’t happen to us.  Or maybe it wouldn’t have happened, had our international agenda been made up of more than “stop the Soviets at all costs” for 40+ years.  It’s a conglomeration of those things that really got us where we are today…

    Pay attention to what is really happening, not what the media tells you is happening.  Be informed!  Look at what other agencies (news, etc) report OUTSIDE of the US.  See where things start overlapping.  Look at what your legislators are proposing and what they are voting on.  Keep an open mind and put it together for yourself.

  7. Here is a few quotations that put my feelings better than I can myself:

    I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.

    —James Madison

    Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history of liberty is a history of resistance. The history of liberty is a history of limitations of government power, not the increase of it.

    —Woodrow Wilson, in a speech in New York City, September 9, 1912

    The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts.

    —Edmund Burke, letter, April 3, 1777, to the Sheriffs of Bristol.

    No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him. …the idea is quite unfounded that on entering into society we give up any natural rights.

    —Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Francis W. Gilmor, July 7, 1786

    The history of Liberty is a history of the limitations of governmental power not the increase of it.

    —Woodrow Wilson

    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

    —- Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759.

    Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.

    —William Pitt, 18 Nov 1783

    And to sum it all up:

    What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don’t like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don’t expect freedom to survive very long.

    —Thomas Sowell

  8. WOW, Rob! Have you read the Patriot Act?  It’s VERY scary (and long).  Civil rights don’t erode overnight (unless it’s martial law).  They erode gradually, bit by bit.  People give a little bit away each time so they can feel “safe

  9. Wow you guys are scary.  Maybe I just think about this stuff in a different way.

    The current administration is killing people, both citizens and foreigners.  Murder seems a little more serious in my humble opinion.  What more evidence is required? Soldiers are ordered to kill foreign citizens, soldiers are ordered into places where they are in danger.  The world has not supported the US to conduct a “lawful

  10. Dude, don’t look at me. I’ve been opposed to this stupid war since before it ever got started. I’ve just stopped harping on it because I’m wasting my breath at this point. Bush got away with it and it appears unlikely he’s ever going to see any repercussions from his actions.

  11. In the past i’ve been a strong advocate for widespread use of CCTV, surveilence cameras, phonecams, and personal-wearable-webcams.

    1984 was not a recommendation.

    Bush got away with it and it appears unlikely he’s ever going to see any repercussions from his actions.

    We can always hope that there really is a God, and a Hell. :0

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