Think tank: Chances dimming for Patriot Act reform

David Edwards
Raw Story

The USA PATRIOT Act is up for renewal in February, but civil libertarians wanting major changes shouldn’t get their hopes up just yet, says a libertarian think tank.

In a letter (.pdf) to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) last week, Attorney General Eric Holder promised to implement oversight policies designed to curb abuses of the Patriot Act.

Leahy praised Holder’s decision to adopt provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act, a bill which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in October 2009 but never passed by the full Senate.

“We must remain vigilant to ensure that law enforcement has the necessary tools to protect our national security, without compromising the personal privacy of Americans,” Leahy said in a statement. “I still believe that these important oversight and accountability provisions should be enacted in law, but I appreciate that by implementing key measures in the bill, the Department of Justice has embraced the need for oversight and transparency.”

Writing for the libertarian CATO institute, Julian Sanchez reminded his readers that the new policies weren’t all good news.

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