A tentative deal to extend the government's antiterrorism powers under the law known as the USA Patriot Act appeared in some jeopardy Thursday, as Senate Democrats threatened to mount a filibuster in an effort to block the legislation.
"This is worth the fight," Senator Russell D. Feingold, a Wisconsin Democrat who serves on the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview.
"I've cleared my schedule right up to Thanksgiving," Mr. Feingold said, adding that he was making plans to read aloud from the Bill of Rights as part of a filibuster if necessary.
The political maneuvering came even before negotiators for the House and Senate had agreed on a final deal to extend the government's counterterrorism powers under the act.
The above is from Eric Lichtblau's "Extension of Patriot Act Faces Threat of Filibuster" in this morning's New York Times.
Lloyd e-mails to note Matthew Rothschild's "Bush Victorious on Patriot Act" (This Just In, The Progressive), which runs down some of the problems:
Bush may be slipping in the polls, but he's still getting just about everything he wants out of the Congress.
Including reauthorization of the Patriot Act.
This week, a conference committee of the House and Senate agreed to make permanent almost every aspect of the Patriot Act. Even the most controversial measures--including allowing the FBI and local police to snoop on your library and bookstore activities--were given another seven-year lease.
The conference bill would still allow the FBI or local law enforcement to barge into your home when you're not there, ransack your house, rifle through your files, go onto your computer and implant in it a device called a "magic lantern," which records every single key stroke you make.
Then the cops can leave without telling you about it--at least for a while.
Here a compromise was made, but a minor one. Instead of being able to delay notification for a "reasonable time," as in the original, now the police could delay for an initial 30-day period, but this could be stretched indefinitely with an "unlimited number of 90-day extensions if approved" by a court, according to the ACLU. The legislation also maintains the ridiculously broad definition of "domestic terrorism," which could be construed as covering nonviolent acts of civil disobedience.
And it gags you from telling anyone except your lawyers if the FBI comes after your records. In fact, it even makes it a new crime to violate that gag order.
Reminder, check your inboxes for the gina & krista round-robin this morning. (Patriot Act information is included in two stories and there's a roundtable on the topic.)
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the new york times