As the uproar grows over illegal spying, and now over port security, the fractious Patriot Act debate still hangs over Congress.
Congress is now on the brink of voting to reauthorize and expand the Patriot Act, which would make secret searches of Americans’ financial and internet records more coercive and more punitive.
Last week, after months of debate, some key legislators cut a deal with the White House to reauthorize the Patriot Act without making the most important changes needed to protect our civil liberties.
The White House refused to negotiate in good faith on the most important civil liberties and privacy protections, namely requiring that any records sought be about a suspected foreign terrorist or an American conspiring with terrorists. The reauthorization bill fails to include these and other critical protections.
Senators Feingold, Bingaman and Leahy are attempting to add amendments that would help fix key problems with the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act must not be reauthorized unless these important changes are made to protect our freedoms.