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February 26, 2010
1:31 PM

CONTACT: Constitution Project

Matthew Allee
(202) 580-6922 or

Constitution Project Disappointed by Missed Opportunity to Reform Patriot Act, But Optimistic for Next Year's Reevaluation

WASHINGTON - February 26 - Last night, the United States House of Representatives joined the Senate in approving a one-year extension for the three sunsetting sections of the Patriot Act: the business/library records, lone wolf, and roving wiretaps provisions. These provisions were originally set to expire at the end of the 2009 calendar year, but Congress passed a two-month extension late last year. The Senate adopted the one-year extension on Wednesday, and the House followed suit last night. The bill will now be sent to President Obama for his expected signature.

"These expiring provisions of the Patriot Act and its national security letter authority are overly broad and lack the necessary safeguards to preserve and protect individual liberties and freedoms," said Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior counsel with the Constitution Project. "Congress missed a prime opportunity, with the December 2009 sunsets, to reevaluate and correct those authorities of the Patriot Act that have proven to authorize violations of Americans' rights. Despite our disappointment with an additional extension, we are looking forward to Congress revisiting these important issues next fall, in advance of the new deadline."

Last September, the Constitution Project's Liberty and Security Committee spoke out on the issue of Patriot Act reform, issuing a Statement on Reforming the Patriot Act. The Statement, signed by a diverse group of 26 policy experts from across the political spectrum, advocated for significant reform to the three sunsetting sections: the business/library records, lone wolf, and roving wiretaps provisions. It also stated that Congress should take this opportunity to revisit and reform the National Security Letter (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.

To view a copy of the Statement of Reforming the Patriot 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

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