The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Matthew Allee,(202) 580-6922 or,

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


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

To view the Liberty and Security Committee's Statement on Reforming the Patritot Act, go to:

The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at