For Immediate Release

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

WASHINGTON - 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:

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