Obama Supports Extending Patriot Act Provisions

Administration tells Congress it wants to renew surveillance laws
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 16, 2009 3:30 AM CDT
Obama Supports Extending Patriot Act Provisions
President Obama speaks at the AFL-CIO convention in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – The Obama administration supports extending three controversial provisions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire at the end of the year,  AP reports. The Justice Department tells Congress in a letter they will back preserving the post-9/11 law's authority to access business records, monitor so-called "lone wolf" terrorists, who have no known ties to terrorist groups, and conduct roving wiretaps. But they also expressed a willingness to add privacy protections if they don't weaken the law's effectiveness.

Civil rights groups particularly object to the business records provision because it allows the government to look at citizens' library records. An ACLU spokeswoman called the administration's position "a mixed bag," and said the group hopes the next version of the Patriot Act will also have important safeguards on other issues. "We're heartened they're saying they're willing to work with Congress—definitely a sea change from what we've seen in the past." (Read more Obama administration stories.)

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