Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Reauthorizing the USA PATRIOT Act

“The [expiring Patriot Act] authorities, all of which are conducted with full court review and approval, are critical to our national security.” – FBI Director Robert Mueller, March 15, 2011

Investigative tools in the Patriot Act have helped keep America safe from a major terror attack for nearly a decade.

-These investigative tools have become key parts of successful terror investigations, reportedly including the one that foiled a planned 2009 plot against the New York City subway system.

Democrats in Congress have repeatedly pushed plans to weaken existing anti-terror tools.

-These proposals would take us back to the pre-September 11th state of the law – a situation in which antiquated investigative tools left America vulnerable to attack.
-Many of these changes would put greater burdens on anti-terror investigations than on run-of-the-mill criminal law enforcement.
-Failure to reauthorize existing Patriot Act authorities, and the proposals to dilute them, would inject instability into the law enforcement and intelligence communities as they fight the war on terror.

Intelligence and law enforcement experts of both parties agree on the need to extend these authorities.

-Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former C.I.A. Director Michael Hayden recently wrote that the terror plots we face today “are best eliminated by quick action under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act” that are currently set to expire.

-Senator Feinstein, Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, has said: “Authorities like the three set to expire this Friday may well prove critical to thwarting new plots and finding terrorists. They must be renewed.”

Senators McConnell and Reid have agreed to a four-year extension.

-This is a crucial step toward providing the intelligence community with the certainty to help protect America from attack.

-Congress must act on this expiring legislation before adjourning for the Memorial Day recess.

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