President Obama Signs One-Year Extension of Patriot Act

With the expiration of several provisions in the Patriot Act nearing on Sunday, President Barack Obama signed a one-year extension on Saturday. The act, which was adopted in the weeks following the infamous September 11, 2001 terror attacks in Washington D.C. and New York, expands the U.S. government's ability to monitor Americans in the name of counter terrorism and national security.

The three sections of the Patriot Act that Obama agreed to extend:

  • Authorize court-approved roving wiretaps that permit surveillance on multiple phones.
  • Permit surveillance against a so-called lone wolf, which is a non-US citizen engaged in terrorism who many not be part of a recognized terrorist group.
  • Allow court approved seizure of records and property in anti-terrorism operations

On Thursday, the House voted 315 to 97 to extend the measure. The Senate also approved the measure, however, they cast aside privacy protections when the Senate Democrats did not have the 60 vote supermajority needed to pass them. They had hoped to pass restrictions and greater scrutiny on the government's authority to spy on Americans and seize their records.

Comments

The Patriot Act is affront to the Constitution. He got my vote once. Not again. We are all not as ignorant as those in power assume. Anyone in power--and blocking progress, giving us Micky Mouse Health Care Reform--You will get your surprise on your next election. It isn't about party anymore--it is about what you say you will do and then don't. We can no longer afford inept, greedy, catering to insurance companies types in power. We gave you the power and we will take it away. Recall Mass. election? More of the same to come.---kate

One of the centerpieces of Obama's campaign was him saying that there needed to be changes to the Patriot Act: Obama basically said that certain changes could be enacted that would preserve civil liberties while still keeping us safe. Obama and fellow Dems didn't even try to do this, though.

House Democrats didn't even try to enact changes to the Patriot Act and the Senate could have forced the Republicans to have to REALLY filibuster this, but they didn't even try. And Obama and the Dems have had from January last year until now to enact changes to the Patriot Act that they have been saying were needed. They even once had a filibuster-proof Senate (along with their control of the House) and could have at least tried during that time period.

Obama said that he would end the use of warrantless wiretaps, but since being elected, he has defended the use of them. Obama said that he would end indefinite detention without trial, but he still allows this for some at Gitmo.

There is a video at YouTube ("Obama Promised") that documents Obama in his own words saying that any bill that he signs MUST have an insurance exchange within it including a public option that would increase competition and keep insurance companies honest. The House bill has a public option, but Obama and some fellow Dems in the Senate caved on the public option. Sell-outs. The forced mandate will line the pockets of Big Insurance & Big Pharma - and there is a reason why he met with reps from both of them behind closed doors.

The Senate could have used reconciliation to push through a public option and even with Scott Brown being elected, Joe Biden would still be able to cast the deciding vote as there would not be enough Dems & Repubs combined to get more than 50 votes against a public option. Sell-outs.

A Corrupt U.S. Government, Could Use National Security Letters under the Patriot Act—As A Political/Economic Weapon.

Currently in the name of fighting terrorism, U.S. Government can use National Security Letters to search a Citizen’s private information and records without having to provide specific facts—the person’s information sought pertains to a foreign power or agent of a foreign power. Government can impose National Security Letters without probable cause on your employer, your business client(s) credit card providers, even your relationships. After you receive a National Security Letter, under current law you cant tell anyone. National Security Letters if used by a tyrannical U.S. Government, could be very threatening to Americans when you consider methods used by other governments. For example in rising Nazi Germany, the Gestapo routinely targeted and damaged business people and companies that refused to support the Nazis Party by—interrogating their customers—about them. Expectantly targeted business people and companies found it difficult to make a living after their customers and clients were frightened away by Gestapo interrogators. Some German corporations were connected to the Gestapo and used the Gestapo to frighten their business rivals’ customers away to take their business. In the same manner that Nazis intimidated their opposition, a corrupt U.S. Government could use National Security Letters to intimidate Americans exercising their First Amendment Activities. Congress needs to pass laws that are more binding, prevent Government using National Security Letters to investigate Americans without first demonstrating a clear standard of probable cause.

Visit one of the top experts on the patriot movement and conspiracy Paul A. Drockton!

I understand (to a degree) keeping the Bush tax cuts for a little longer as our economy recovers, and even the time it is taking to close Guantanamo, but really, we need to roll back all of GW's executive powers as quickly as we can. Obama, I'm disappointed in this, (and really can't believe it) - - hopefully there is some "chess" playing going on here for Republican support. Who knows. It is clear that Obama is serious about getting tough on "terror", as he has expanded US drone use in Pakistan. I'm still behind Obama (keep in mind this is ONLY a 1 year extension, but lets hope it is the last we see)

Obama said that he would end the use of warrantless wiretaps, but since being elected, he has defended the use of them.

Disappointing to say the least. I thought you were better than this Obama.

perhaps this is the cost or price of business/security today. It is what it is.

Warrantless wiretapping is just another small domino that is knocked down towards the de-evolution of America into a police state. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was under the assumption that without a warrant, the government isn’t restricted to charging you with only the specific crimes it was looking for in the scope of the warrant. So basically, by Obama expanding the executive branch’s rights to wiretap without warrants, he’s taking a giant dump on civil rights/our right to privacy. Do you notice all of those “CIA is hiring!” commercials on the radio now? Don’t you think it’s a little odd that the CIA would be trying to recruit with cheesy radio commercials in the first place? Those are because they’re hiring masses of workers to sift through all the information from their increased scope of wiretapping. This reminds me of the NKVD (the Soviet Secret Police) back in the 50s. They’d give rewards to ppl for spying on their neighbors and turning them in, and it rapidly snowballed into a frenzy of paranoid witch hunts and people getting their whole lives ruined because they were “told on” and suspected or mistaken for doing something that was deemed a threat to the Soviet Union. They used fear to turn the country against itself – much in the same way that the Patriot Act is. On a side note, I've been noticing that these home security companies have been using fear to peddle their home video camera systems, too (which can be easily monitored by the government, giving them a direct feed into your own house… just look at the pictures on the adt website). The whole scenario that happened in Russia seems especially plausible, considering the leftist authoritarianism (a la Soviet Union) that Obama is steering this country towards. Now I’m not trying to fear monger here, I’m just saying that we have all the right ingredients here to make a huge mistake that Russia made half a century ago, and all the people on here defending it because it in the name of homeland security should be aware that they’re going down this same route.