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Obama Embraces Patriot Act; As Senator, He Was Skeptical

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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:07 AM
Original message
Obama Embraces Patriot Act; As Senator, He Was Skeptical
Source: The Atlantic

Sep 15 2009, 2:10 pm by Marc Ambinder
Obama Embraces Patriot Act; As Senator, He Was Skeptical

The Obama administration wants Congress to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the 2001 USA Patriot Act scheduled to expire later this year, but said in a letter to two senators that it is open to adding (unspecified) civil liberties safeguards. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the sunsetting provisions next week and wants to consider broader reforms. Five months ago, it asked the administration for its views; just yesterday, the administration responded. Some of the changes to the law Barack Obama sought as a senator -- including modifications to the administrative subpoena power known as National Security Letters -- are not part of the corpus of his views today.

In a letter to Sens. Russ Feingold and Dick Durbin (Durbin-Feingold 091409.pdf), assistant attorney general Ronald Welch, the chief DOJ liaison to Congress, said that the administration supports the so-called "roving wiretap" provision, which allows the government to continue surveilling terrorism suspect under a single wiretap warrant even if the suspect changes the medium of communication. According to Weich, the administration will not authorize such a warrant unless it has "specific" evidence that the suspect is actively working to avoid detection by authorities. About 22 such wiretaps are authorized every year. "We believe the basic justification offered to Congress in 2001 remains valid today," Weich writes.

The administration also wants Congress to reauthorize the provision extending the ability of the FBI to request detailed business records under a FISA warrant. According to the government, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court has issued about 220 orders to produce such records in 2004, and the Justice Department asserts that they have provided investigators with critical information -- although they say the specifics are classified. Weich writes: "It is noteworthy that no recipient of a FISA business records order has ever challenged the validity of the order, despite the availability, since 2006, of a clear statutory mechanism to do so."

Finally, the administration wants Congress to keep the so-called "lone wolf" provision in place, which allows them to conduct surveillance of a terrorism suspect even if they don't know what country that person is acting on behalf of -- if any. According to Weich , "the Government must know a great deal about the target, including the target's purpose and plans for terrorist activity (in order to satisfy the defmition of "international terrorism"), but still be unable to connect the individual to any group that meets the FISA definition of a foreign power."

Read more: http://politics.theatlantic.com/2009/09/the_obama_admin...
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derby378 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:09 AM
Response to Original message
1. Will there still be surveillance of our libraries?
Last I heard, every person who checks out a book from the library or uses one of the Internet kiosks is logged and monitored. If this is still going on, then it needs to be put to an end.
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:10 AM
Response to Original message
2. He was skeptical as a candidate, too, as I recall....
"Change," and all that...
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:26 AM
Response to Reply #2
14. +1
:thumbsup:
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:11 AM
Response to Original message
3. The road to the Police State is a one-way street
there's no going back once you've started down it.

This was why the unPATRIOTic Act, The MCA, DHS and TSA should never have been created in the first place. :(
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Myrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:16 AM
Response to Original message
4. Sigh.
:(
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Steerpike Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:24 AM
Response to Original message
5. Good Grief!!!!
How could anyone with a D after their name support this fascist support system. Hasn't he seen V is for Vendetta?
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
6. This is nothing new. Democrats have always maintained the Patriot Act needed revision

Statement of U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Russ Feingold on the Administration's Willingness to Consider PATRIOT Act Reforms

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Washington, D.C. The Department of Justice has responded to a letter from U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Russ Feingold (D-WI), in which the Senators asked the Attorney General to consider bipartisan reforms to the USA PATRIOT Act that they have proposed, and which were supported by President Obama when he was in the Senate. In its response, the Department of Justice indicated willingness to consider reforms to the USA PATRIOT Act. Senators Feingold and Durbin, who plan to introduce legislation soon, released the following statement after receiving the response:

We welcome the administrations willingness to consider additional safeguards for surveillance powers that have been vastly expanded in recent years. Congress should revise the USA PATRIOT Act and related authorities to better protect the constitutional rights of American citizens, while preserving the powers of our government to fight terrorism. After the Inspector General reports documenting rampant misuse of National Security Letters, there can no longer be any doubt that granting overbroad authority leads to abuses. We must take this opportunity to get it right, once and for all. And we must be able to have a meaningful public debate so that the American people and their representatives in Congress can understand how these authorities have actually been used and make informed decisions about how they should be used in the future.

The Durbin-Feingold letter, originally sent on August 6th, is available here. More information on the fixes Feingold and Durbin are seeking is available here.





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mac56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:49 AM
Response to Reply #6
11. Absolutely. Nothing new here.
But it's more fun for some to run in circles, scream and shout.
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Umbral Donating Member (969 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #6
12. Yes, it's OK to be dictatorial - as long as your consistent about it! nt
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ProSense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:59 AM
Response to Reply #12
17. The statement says nothing of the sort. To say that it even implies that is nonsense. n/t
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
7. Change
you can't believe in :sarcasm:
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Windy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:37 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. DId you read the article posted by Prosense?
They are willing to consider reform to the patriot act.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. No I hadn't
but thank you for pointing that out to me.
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jonnyblitz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #9
18. well arent they just precious, "willing to consider". nt
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
8. As a Senator he was skeptical, as president
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 09:34 AM by Gman
he had the "Oh Shit, I had no idea" meeting the day after the election. He knows a lot more now than he probably ever wanted to know.
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Autumn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
13. At least we are getting reform.
:shrug:
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:30 AM
Response to Original message
15. The Congress should not follow the President on this issue.
They should part ways and kill most of the Patriot Act.
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:53 AM
Response to Original message
16. Rescind the Act, fix it with proper safeguards and oversight, and call it something different.
Too much baggage with the current name. Maybe the Anti-Bush/Cheney Act of 2010.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:17 AM
Response to Original message
19. Times change. He knows more now as President. Some in other countries don't like us.
It's not terribly difficult to think about.

or maybe not.
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Orwellian_Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #19
21. Gee
wonder why.

Guess you just gave a "yes" vote for government surveillance and domestic repression.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. Or why not.
What's to be oppressed over?

What's worth fighting for?

Show me a list of people who have fought this eeeeeeeeeeeevil, instead of just telling others what to do (for them)?
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happydreams Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 01:57 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. Hello fuckhead! Motherfucker I hope that you become a victim of this
. I hope that your loved ones die in the wars that this police state is involved in. I hope that at some time people like you are forced to suffer the consequences of your hate.
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
20. I wanted REAL change and all I got was this stupid 'reform' T shirt.
the Patriot Act needs to be ABOLISHED. DONE, FINIS. OVER. INCINERATED.
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Vidar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
23. The payoff is bigger for Presidents.
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Orwellian_Ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:43 PM
Response to Original message
25. Bump
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