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USA PATRIOT Amendments Act Welcomed by the Constitution Project
Proposed legislation closely conforms with recommendations made in the Project's recent Statement on Reforming the Patriot Act
WASHINGTON - October 20 - The Constitution Project welcomed the introduction of legislation
this afternoon that would amend the USA Patriot Act to strengthen the
privacy protections for innocent Americans while providing the federal
government with the surveillance authorities necessary to keep our
nation safe. The legislation addresses the three provisions of the
Patriot Act scheduled to sunset this year as well as the national
security letter (NSL) provision. The Project praised House Judiciary
Committee Chairman John Conyers, and Representatives Jerrold Nadler and
Bobby Scott for cosponsoring the USA PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009
while calling on the committee to adopt the legislation as introduced
to ensure implementation of the bill's protections for individual
Last month, timed with the first congressional hearings to examine the sunsetting Patriot Act provisions, the Constitution Project's Liberty and Security Committee released its Statement on Reforming the Patriot Act. Signed by a diverse group of 26 policy experts representing the full political spectrum, the Statement advocates for significant reform to the three sunsetting sections: the business/library records, lone wolf, and roving wiretaps provisions. It also states that Congress should take this opportunity to revisit and reform the NSL authority expanded by the Patriot Act, whose abuse has been documented by the Justice Department's Inspector General, as well as the Act's provision allowing deportation and denial of visas based on individuals' political views.
"Chairman Conyers and Representatives Nadler and Scott deserve praise for putting forth a legislative proposal that protects the individual liberties our nation was founded upon while still providing the surveillance authorities needed to keep our country safe," said Sharon Bradford Franklin, Constitution Project Senior Counsel. "The USA PATRIOT Amendments Act would institute real reform to the sunsetting provisions, as well as the NSL authority which has been repeatedly abused by the FBI in the past. The Constitution Project calls on the Judiciary Committee to adopt this bill, and enact much-needed protections for individual rights."