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Reported Patriot Deal, Just as Congress Finds Its Voice

Gabe Rottman,
Legislative Counsel,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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February 13, 2006

Key lawmakers apparently reached a deal to reauthorize the Patriot Act late
last week. But the measure fails to reform the law properly to better protect security and civil liberties.

The deal would be doubly unfortunate, with several key Republicans in Congress continuing to field probing questions for the White House on the NSA illegal spying scandal.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Bush stalwart Sen. Pat Roberts from Kansas, is apparently likely to vote to open its own investigation into the NSA domestic surveillance, led by Republicans Chuck Hagel, Olympia Snowe and Mike DeWine.

Heather Wilson, the New Mexico Republican and the only female veteran in the House, has also come out with serious questions about the legality of the surveillance. She’s calling for a full congressional inquiry. “The men who wrote the Constitution feared most a strong Executive with control of a standing army,” Wilson told Time Magazine. “Our Constitution is set up to protect all of us from tyranny.”

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