Top US lawmakers strike anti-terrorism powers deal

Deal to extend the Patriot Act for 5 years without new civil liberties safeguards

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid speaks
to the press as House Speaker John Boehner (L)
© AFP/File Mandel Ngan


WASHINGTON (AFP) – US Congress leaders have agreed to extend for five years an array of counter-terrorism surveillance and search powers adopted after the September 11, 2001 attacks, sources said Thursday.

Under the arrangement, lawmakers will hold a vote on extending the controversial powers at the core of the Patriot Act before they lapse on May 27, according to several congressional aides.

The officials said the vote would be “a clean extension” to June 1, 2015, meaning it would not include new civil liberties safeguards sought by some senior lawmakers of both major parties.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reached the accord with time running short before the provisions expire.

The measures allow authorities to use roving wiretaps to track an individual on several telephones; track a non-US national suspected of being “lone-wolf” terrorist not tied to an extremist group; and to seize “any tangible thing,” such as personal or business records, seen as critical to an investigation.

US Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper urged top lawmakers in a January 28 letter to extend all three powers and complained of frequent short-term renewals.

© AFPPublished at Activist Post with license

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