It appears that the only television news network that’s been regularly covering the PATRIOT Act renewal process in Congress has been FOX News, and its coverage has seemed a lot more like pro-PATRIOT propaganda than unbiased news reporting. Fortunately, Julian Sanchez of The Cato Institute has been fact-checking this closely.
It looks like most of the Senators on the Judiciary Committee weren’t swayed by last week’s New York Times editorial, which suggested they consider USA PATRIOT Act renewal a “critical chance to add missing civil liberties and privacy protections, address known abuses and trim excesses that contribute nothing to making America safer.”
Instead, the Committee passed a bill to renew all of the PATRIOT powers that were set to expire at the end of the year, with only a handful of the original reforms that were first proposed by Senators Feingold and Durbin’s JUSTICE Act and Committee Chairman Leahy’s original PATRIOT renewal bill.
No, rather than adding more protections to the bill, the Committee voted to accept seven Republican amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act to remove the few civil liberties protections left in the bill after it was already watered down at the previous Committee meeting. Surprisingly and disappointingly, most of those amendments were recommended to their Republican sponsors by the Obama Administration.
As Senator Feingold so elegantly stated in his post-vote blog post on Daily Kos: “In the end…Democrats have to decide if they are going to stand up for the rights of the American people or allow the FBI to write our laws.”
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