|For Immediate Release
May 26, 2011
Contact:Kim Smith Hicks, (202) 225-3951
Congress Reauthorizes PATRIOT Provisions
Washington, D.C. – Congress today reauthorized important national security provisions that are critical to our intelligence community’s ability to prevent terrorist attacks and keep America safe. The bill (S. 990) extends for four years three expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act, including the roving wiretaps, business records and lone wolf provisions. The provisions were scheduled to expire tonight at one minute past midnight.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) urged his colleagues to support the important provisions during the House floor debate.
Chairman Smith: “Some argue that since we haven’t had a major terrorist attack since September 11th we no longer need these laws. Others argue that the death of Osama bin Laden brought an end to al Qaeda and the War on Terror. Both of these claims lack merit. The PATRIOT Act provisions continue to play a vital role in America’s counter-terrorism efforts, not only to prevent another large-scale attack, but also to combat an increasing number of smaller terrorist plots.
“These are common sense provisions that have worked effectively for nearly 10 years to prevent terrorist attacks, protect the American people and preserve civil liberties. This bill is a bipartisan, bicameral compromise to reauthorize the expiring PATRIOT Act provisions for four years. By doing so, Congress is ensuring that critical intelligence will be collected and terrorist plots will be disrupted.
“The terrorist threat we face as a nation has not expired. Neither should these important provisions that have helped keep us safe from terrorist attacks.”
Summary of Reauthorized Provisions:
Roving Wiretaps: Allows intelligence officials, after receiving approval from a federal court, to conduct surveillance on terrorist suspects regardless of how many communication devices they use. Roving wiretaps are nothing new. Domestic law enforcement agencies have had roving wiretaps for criminal investigations since 1986. If we can use roving wiretaps to track down a drug trafficker, why shouldn't we also use it to prevent a terrorist attack?
Business Records: Allows the FBI, after obtaining approval from a federal judge, to access tangible items, including business records, in foreign intelligence, international terrorism and espionage cases.
Lone Wolf: National security laws allow intelligence gathering on foreign governments, terrorist groups and their agents. But what about a foreign terrorist who either acts alone or cannot be immediately tied to a terrorist organization? The lone wolf definition simply allows our intelligence officials to answer threats from terrorists acting alone. It cannot be used against a U.S. citizen.