WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressional leaders hope to include expanded surveillance powers in the bill reauthorizing the USA PATRIOT Act this year. Civil liberties groups are fighting hard for lawmakers to correct the flaws in the PATRIOT Act and block attempts to expand the law.|
To help activists join the fight, Moving Ideas just issued a report, "USA PATRIOT Act 2005: Big Brother is Watching" (http://www.movingideas.org/content/en/on_the_hill/patriot_act2005.htm). The report lays out the problems with the original PATRIOT Act and explains the expanded powers that have been proposed. The report includes links to in-depth analysis from policy experts as well as ways for activists to get involved and take action.
"The original PATRIOT Act passed so quickly through Congress there was no time to discuss its full implications. I hope that this time around concerns about civil liberties and providing proper accountability and oversight are given thorough consideration," Moving Ideas Director Melanie Alston-Akers says.
The original PATRIOT Act gave alarming new powers to the government, including abilities to search a home without informing the homeowner, secretly monitor e-mail, and access financial and medical records without probable cause. In 2003, the Justice Department unveiled PATRIOT Act II, and lawmakers plan on including some of its recommendations in the reauthorization bill.
The additional powers already included in the Senate legislation include allowing the FBI to issue "administrative subpoenas" that serve as search warrants but don't need a judge or a grand jury's approval; expanding a provision in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that allows for greater access to business records; and authorizing the FBI to inspect the outside of U.S. Postal Service letters and packages.
"USA PATRIOT Act 2005: Big Brother is Watching" is available at http://www.movingideas.org/content/en/on_the_hill/patriot_act2005.htm.
Experts and public relations contacts available to speak to the press are located in Moving Ideas' Progressive Policy Experts Database at http://www.movingideas.org/content/en/for_the_press.htm.
As the leading source for easily searched and sorted progressive policy information, Moving Ideas provides the background information for citizen activism via the Internet. Located at www.movingideas.org, Moving Ideas is a one-stop shop for resources from more than 155 partner and member organizations that focus on issues such as foreign policy and national security, education, civil liberties, jobs and the economy, retirement security and more. Our site emphasizes engaging citizens in activism, but also provides easy access to everything from columnists to public documents. Moving Ideas is the most comprehensive site for providing citizens with the knowledge to support their interests and civic participation.