December 16, 2005

Crapo Supports Patriot Act Reauthorization

Safeguards included in revision will protect liberty, privacy

Washington, DC â??Idaho Senator Mike Crapo voted today to invoke cloture on debate of the USA PATRIOT and Terrorism Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2005, which would allow the Senate to vote on extending expiring provisions in the law. The Act contains provisions that will expire Dec. 31 unless the Senate approves an extension. Cloture is a Senate procedure requiring 60 votes that allows the Senate to end debate on an issue and move to a vote on the actual bill. Because the cloture vote failed on a vote of 52-47, there will not be a vote on passing the reauthorization measure at this time. Following the vote, Crapo issued the following statement:â??The PATRIOT Act was first enacted to protect Americans against terrorism,â?? said Crapo. â??This revised version meets that goal while protecting our privacy and civil liberties. The tools this bill provides are necessary to winning the war on terrorism and keeping that fight off our soil. I have spent many hours reviewing and discussing this legislation and ultimately made the decision to support the bill. Because I respect the many Idahoans who have taken the time and effort to share their objections with me, I want to take this opportunity to explain why I came to my decision.â??â??I voted for the PATRIOT Act in 2001, which overwhelmingly passed both houses of Congress. In 2003, I joined with the Idaho Congressional delegation to sponsor the original SAFE Act with the goal to refine--not reject--the PATRIOT Act.â?? â??Today I supported this reauthorization measure because it contains many of the refinements from the original SAFE Act. It maintains the necessary tools for intelligence and law enforcement, but it enacts important safeguards to prevent these tools from being used for unintended purposes. After discussing the operational results of the Act with Attorney General Gonzales and others and reviewing the oversight work performed by the Judiciary Committee, it is clear there are no documented cases of infringement on the civil liberties of law-abiding Americans allegedly threatened in this bill. At the same time, we have seen no terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since September 11, 2001. I concluded, with the inclusion of these improvements, that I should vote to continue to protect Americans from terrorist threats and provide additional safeguards to protect against any threat to civil liberties.â??Provisions in this reauthorization that would protect Americans privacy and liberty, but werenâ??t included in the original PATRIOT Act include:â?¢The Department of Justice will be required to destroy any confidential information that is not relevant to an investigation but is received in response to a subpoena or warrant.â?¢Warrants issued under an open-ended delayed-notice status now have a 30-day notice period to the subject of the warrant.â?¢To further protect against â??fishing expeditionsâ?? or improper targeting by field agents, any agent specifically requesting library, medical, gun or educational records must first get the personal approval of the Director of the FBI, the Deputy Director or the Executive Assistant Director for National Security, before getting approval from a judge.â?¢Those seeking a warrant for roving and wiretapping must justify a specific target for the warrant and also notify the court issuing the warrant within 10 days after the beginning of surveillance.â?¢It guarantees recipients of business records requests the right to consult legal counsel and to judicial review.â?¢The bill requires two separate audits to be done on National Security Letters and business records used by the FBI.â?¢It allows recipients of National Security Letters to consult legal counsel.â?¢The measure includes a new sunshine provision on National Security Letters, requiring annual reporting.Crapo continued, â??The PATRIOT Act has generated significant discussion and debate across our country, and I have heard from many Idahoans who are concerned about the effect of the Act on their lives and liberty. The sunsets placed in the original legislation give Congress another opportunity to debate and discuss the Act. It is critical that we deal with facts and address legitimate fears based on these facts. This bill addresses these concerns and, thanks to sunsets placed in it, this debate will occur again in four years. It is my sincere hope that, at that time, we will again be able to say that the lives and constitutional liberties of the American people have been protected--thanks to the refinements we have made to the PATRIOT Act.â??