Final PATRIOT Showdown Deferred As NSA Hearings Loom
Late last year, the tide in Congress began to turn against the PATRIOT Act's sunsetting provisions, as legislators refused to grant a long-term extension. Despite President Bush's call for extension in Tuesday's State of Union, Congress once again put off taking any final action today, only approving a second five-week extension.
While any extension is unfortunate, this delay provides an important opportunity for PATRIOT opponents. In the coming weeks, the dangers of government surveillance will come under great scrutiny. Next week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will start public hearings on the government's illegal domestic spying program. As suggested by news reports and EFF's lawsuit against AT&T for its role in the surveillance, the program is broader than the government has admitted.
Keep the momentum against PATRIOT going by letting your representatives know that reform should be put off until the Administration provides all details on the program.