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dbucfan

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: May 27, 2011, 08:35:25 AM

Obama Signs Last-Minute Patriot Act Extension
Published May 27, 2011 | FoxNews.com

Minutes before the midnight deadline Thursday, President Obama approved a four-year extension of the government's Patriot Act powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists.
"I think it is an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat," the president said from the G-8 Summit in France.
The White House said Obama had signed the bill from Europe using an autopen machine that holds a pen and signs his actual signature. It is only used with proper authorization of the president. The action comes a month after intelligence and military forces hunted down Usama bin Laden.
Following the 72-23 Senate vote, the House voted to approve the bill 250-153 with hours to go before the three terror-fighting tools were set to expire.
The measure extends the legal life of roving wiretaps, court-ordered searches of business records and surveillance of non-American "lone wolf" suspects without confirmed ties to terrorist groups.
The roving wiretaps and access to business records are small parts of the USA Patriot Act that was enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. But unlike most of the act, which is permanent law, those provisions must be periodically renewed because of concerns that they could be used to violate privacy rights. The same applies to the "lone wolf" provision, which was part of a 2004 intelligence act.
Earlier, the Senate struggled to find a way to stage a final vote in the face of continued resistance from a single senator, Republican freshman Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Paul argued that in the rush to meet the terrorist threat in 2001 Congress enacted a Patriot Act that tramples on individual liberties. He had some backing from liberal Democrats and civil liberties groups who have long contended the Patriot Act gives the government authority to spy on innocent citizens.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., said the provision on collecting business records can expose law-abiding citizens to government scrutiny. "If we cannot limit investigations to terrorism or other nefarious activities, where do they end?" he asked.
"The Patriot Act has been used improperly again and again by law enforcement to invade Americans' privacy and violate their constitutional rights," said Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU Washington legislative office.
But intelligence officials have denied improper use of surveillance tools, and this week both FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sent letters to congressional leaders warning of serious national security consequences if the provisions were allowed to lapse.
The Obama administration says that without the three authorities the FBI might not be able to obtain information on terrorist plotting inside the U.S. and that a terrorist who communicates using different cell phones and email accounts could escape timely surveillance.
"When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, we would be giving terrorists the opportunity to plot attacks against our country, undetected," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the Senate floor Wednesday. In unusually personal criticism of a fellow senator, he warned that Paul, by blocking swift passage of the bill, "is threatening to take away the best tools we have for stopping them."
The nation itself is divided over the Patriot Act, as reflected in a Pew Research Center poll last February, before the killing of bin Laden, that found that 34 percent felt the law "goes too far and poses a threat to civil liberties. Some 42 percent considered it "a necessary tool that helps the government find terrorists." That was a slight turnaround from 2004 when 39 percent thought it went too far and 33 percent said it was necessary.
Paul, after complaining that Reid's remarks were "personally insulting," asked whether the nation "should have some rules that say before they come into your house, before they go into your banking records, that a judge should be asked for permission, that there should be judicial review? Do we want a lawless land?"
In practice, law enforcement has used the three provisions sparingly. According to a senior Justice Department national security official testifying to Congress last March, the government has sought roving wiretap authority in about 20 cases a year between 2001 and 2010 and has sought warrants for business records less than 40 times a year, on average. The government has yet to use the lone wolf authority.
But the ACLU also points out that court approvals for business record access jumped from 21 in 2009 to 96 last year, and the organization contends the Patriot Act has blurred the line between investigations of actual terrorists and those not suspected of doing anything wrong.
Two Democratic critics of the Patriot Act, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Udall of Colorado, on Thursday extracted a promise from Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that she would hold hearings with intelligence and law enforcement officials on how the law is being carried out.
Wyden says that while there are numerous interpretations of how the Patriot Act works, the official government interpretation of the law remains classified. "A significant gap has developed now between what the public thinks the law says and what the government secretly claims it says," Wyden said.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., while supporting extension of the Patriot Act measures, also pushed for changes to make the law more transparent, including requiring the Justice Department to periodically report to Congress on whether the powers in the law were being used properly.
Leahy had also sought to require the government to show greater evidence of a link with a terrorist threat when it asks for access to business records such as library circulation records or book seller records.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
 
Now who would have thought.... the acrimony from both Dems and Reps has been consistent on this legislation -

\"A Great Coach has to have a Patient Wife, A Loyal Dog, and a Great Quarterback. . . . but not necessarily in that order\" ~ Coach Bud Grant

JDog

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#1 : May 27, 2011, 09:09:01 AM

What a hypocrite this Obama dude is.


DynaMike Glennon

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#2 : May 27, 2011, 09:27:01 AM


John Galt?

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#3 : May 27, 2011, 03:46:04 PM

Didn't he make a HUGE deal about repealing the Patriot Act back when he was campaigning??


CBWx2

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#4 : May 27, 2011, 04:02:59 PM



Wait, I thought he was a Kenyan Muslim? Now he's a Nazi too? Perhaps in past lives he shot Abraham Lincoln and killed Jesus too. If only Edgar Cayce were alive to confirm this...

Obama didn't campaign against the Patriot Act. He gave an oppositional speech about it in 2005, but he did reluctantly vote yes on the bill in 2006. Personally, I think it's a horrible assault on the Constitution, but this isn't exactly the flip flop you all are making it out to be by President Obama, and it was only temporarily extended, as opposed to the permanent extension that many R's were calling for.


John Galt?

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#5 : May 27, 2011, 04:26:03 PM

... it was only temporarily extended, as opposed to the permanent extension that many R's were calling for.


Oh, well now I feel better. The second worst thing to come out of the Dubya administration was just "temporarily extended" and the Constitution will only "temporarily" continue to be raped.

Now while some will wag the finger at BHO for this, I prefer to lambaste the 322 idiots (72 in the Senate, 250 in the House) that are truly at fault for this destruction of privacy.
When it was first introduced 8 years ago, it was kinda rammed down Congresses throats by the "don't you love your country" crowd. But this time, there was no public outcry or pressure to "do something immediately" so plenty of opportunity was available to reform or just fecal-can the thing. Instead 322 baffoons decided that now is not the time for restoration of the Bill of Rights.

So when was the last time Congress did pass a bill that either reduced Government control or expanded individual freedom? Seems like many, many decades.


Biggs3535

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#6 : May 27, 2011, 04:49:35 PM

Didn't he make a HUGE deal about repealing the Patriot Act back when he was campaigning??

http://abcnews.go.com/images/politics/obama1_1.pdf

Yes, I would vote to repeal the U.S. Patriot Act, although I would consider replacing that shoddy and dangerous law with a new, carefully crafted proposal that addressed in a much more limited fashion the legitimate needs of law enforcement in combating terrorism....


dbucfan

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#7 : May 27, 2011, 06:57:01 PM

Yea, but he had his fingers crossed Biggs.

\"A Great Coach has to have a Patient Wife, A Loyal Dog, and a Great Quarterback. . . . but not necessarily in that order\" ~ Coach Bud Grant

CBWx2

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#8 : May 27, 2011, 08:41:23 PM

The questionnaire you provided was what Obama filled out when he ran for the Senate in 2003, not the Presidency. Obama campaigned on revising the Patriot act, not repealing it. He has not made the changes to the act that he promised, but that's a broken campaign promise, not a flip-flop.


Biggs3535

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#9 : May 27, 2011, 09:12:46 PM

The questionnaire you provided was what Obama filled out when he ran for the Senate in 2003, not the Presidency. Obama campaigned on revising the Patriot act, not repealing it. He has not made the changes to the act that he promised, but that's a broken campaign promise, not a flip-flop.

So going from wanting to get rid of a Act to strengthening said Act isn't a flip/flop in your book?  Would you mind laying out what the hell is?


CBWx2

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#10 : May 27, 2011, 09:37:47 PM

The questionnaire you provided was what Obama filled out when he ran for the Senate in 2003, not the Presidency. Obama campaigned on revising the Patriot act, not repealing it. He has not made the changes to the act that he promised, but that's a broken campaign promise, not a flip-flop.

So going from wanting to get rid of a Act to strengthening said Act isn't a flip/flop in your book?  Would you mind laying out what the hell is?

In what way did he strengthen it? He didn't weaken it as promised, but he didn't strengthen it either. And as previously pointed out, Obama voted yes on the bill in 2006. If anything, he should have been accused of flip-flopping then, not 5 years later. I guess the fact that there was a Republican in the White House at the time made it a little more bearable for some.


dbucfan

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#11 : May 27, 2011, 09:57:31 PM

Barry didn't do what he said he was going to do.  He dislike the bill he voted for, vowed to change it as a candidate, and meekly signed it without changes.  He didn't lie, he didn't mislead - he simply did do what he said he was going to do.  So while one person might find him a flip-flopper, another might feel more comfortable with calling Barry a failure, or even something different like forgetful, or ineffective... who knows.

\"A Great Coach has to have a Patient Wife, A Loyal Dog, and a Great Quarterback. . . . but not necessarily in that order\" ~ Coach Bud Grant

Biggs3535

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#12 : May 27, 2011, 10:06:32 PM

And as previously pointed out, Obama voted yes on the bill in 2006. If anything, he should have been accused of flip-flopping then, not 5 years later. I guess the fact that there was a Republican in the White House at the time made it a little more bearable for some.

Obama was a nobody at that time.  Why would you expect National uproar over his flip/flop then?  However, Hillary brought up the flip/flop in the election - and it still is a flip/flop, so I'm not sure what you're point is.


CBWx2

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#13 : May 27, 2011, 10:33:20 PM

Barry didn't do what he said he was going to do.  He dislike the bill he voted for, vowed to change it as a candidate, and meekly signed it without changes.  He didn't lie, he didn't mislead - he simply did do what he said he was going to do.  So while one person might find him a flip-flopper, another might feel more comfortable with calling Barry a failure, or even something different like forgetful, or ineffective... who knows.

I would call him neither a flip flopper or a failure. I'd call him a politician. Show me a President that has ever kept every single one of his campaign promises and I'll show you a figment of your imagination.


CBWx2

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#14 : May 27, 2011, 10:41:37 PM

And as previously pointed out, Obama voted yes on the bill in 2006. If anything, he should have been accused of flip-flopping then, not 5 years later. I guess the fact that there was a Republican in the White House at the time made it a little more bearable for some.

Obama was a nobody at that time.  Why would you expect National uproar over his flip/flop then?  However, Hillary brought up the flip/flop in the election - and it still is a flip/flop, so I'm not sure what you're point is.

In his Senate career and his presidential run he's held the same position on the legislation. It may be different from the answer he gave on a questionnaire 8 years ago as an Illinois state senator, but it's consistent with the position he's held since coming to Washington. I happen to disagree with it, but I have a hard time saying that the guy has changed all that drastically on it.

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