Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Shhh... don't tell anyone, but they're planning on taking more of your Constitutional rights away from you, and you're not supposed to know they're debating it:|
In a move that could expand the police powers in the Patriot Act, the Senate Intelligence Committee will meet behind close doors to discuss, among other things, "a little-discussed provision to enlarge the FBI's ability to wiretap people who it suspects are national security threats." The bill they will discuss is called the Patriot Reauthorization Act (PAREA)
The Boston Globe reported Sunday that the provision in the bill, sponsored by committee chair Republican Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, "would lift one of the last restrictions on special warrants the FBI can obtain through a secret court originally set up to monitor foreign spies: that the information the bureau wants must be related to international terrorism or foreign intelligence."
Instead, the FBI could use the warrants, which bypass normal constitutional safeguards, to look for evidence of unrelated crimes that it could use to get suspects off the street. The wiretap provision is one of three major additions in the draft bill, which would reauthorize the Patriot Act, the package of enhanced law enforcement powers enacted after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
If the bill became law, it also would give FBI agents the power to write their own subpoenas without permission from a judge, allowing them to seize records from hotels, banks, and Internet service providers. This provision would require the FBI to make periodic reports to Congress about how often it uses that power to obtain library records, bookstore and firearms sales receipts, and medical or tax records.