June 6, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

Kyl Bill

Eric Grimm has a grim tale indeed over @ Dave Farber's IP list, describing in frightening, first-hand detail the over-reach that the USA PATRIOT Act currently enables. As Grimm points out, the law can serve as the ultimate blank check for the government -- due to "don't ask, don't tell"-style provisions, federal officials are able to use unprecedented powers with near-impunity.

Now, Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has introduced legislation to remove one of the only avenues of accountability for PATRIOT abuse: the section ensuring that some of the most controversial "emergency" provisions expire at the end of 2005. The bill would preemptively make these provisions permanent, despite the fact that the Department of Justice has utterly failed to show that they are necessary or effective for fighting terrorism -- never mind sufficiently protective of our privacy and civil liberties.

If this bill passes, we lose PATRIOT's sole safety valve -- the built-in ability to put a stop order on the blank check. In an election year, endorsing legislation like this is what passes as "patriotism." The bill is moving, and now sits comfortably before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Don't let it go any further. Visit EFF's Action Center today and ask the committee to kill it.

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