Thursday, December 15, 2005

Odious "USA PATRIOT" Act Provisions Restored in Conference Committee

Here's the scoop (emphasis mine) from Russ Feingold's PR materials on the subject. Yes, it's a press release. On the other hand, it's Russ. One guy -- ONE GUY -- voted against USA PATRIOT in the Senate 2001. That gives him a certain amount of cred on this issue.

There's an online petition you can sign to show your support. This is a big one, kids. My comments on the petition included the notion that it's not that the FBI or DoD are inherently evil, or even that a significant number of the people running the show are. The Founding Fathers had it right: Safeguards have to be structural, so that you don't have to rely on the good intentions (and competence!) of the fallible people in power.

Yes, signing the petition will bring you to a page where they ask for money. Deal.

In July, both parties came together in the Senate and approved a reasonable compromise. While this compromise wasn't perfect, I felt that it sufficiently protected our rights and freedoms, and it passed unanimously. It's unfortunate that the Senate and House conference committee has failed to adopt many of the provisions that my Senate colleagues and I believe fix the PATRIOT Act.

Four years ago, I was the only Senator to vote against the PATRIOT Act. I voted against it because I took the time to read it in full. While I strongly support the vast majority of the law, there were some provisions I found deeply disturbing. This week, many of these same provisions will come up for another vote, but I'm not standing alone anymore. A bi-partisan coalition, including Senators Durbin, Craig, Sununu, Salazar, and Murkowski have all agreed with my call to fix the PATRIOT Act.


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