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Patriot Act Allows Our Intel Professionals To Keep Our Nation Safe

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Uploaded on May 23, 2011

It seems to me that 1038 with its extension of the three sunsets until June 1, 2015, is a reasonable compromise. Although I believe that each one of these two should be made permanent, this bill will ensure that our intelligence professionals have the tools they need to keep our nation safe.There is little disagreement that these provisions should and must be reauthorized. Director Robert Mueller has testified repeatedly that each one of these provisions is important to both national security as well as criminal investigations, but the importance does not end there. Because of enhanced information-sharing rules and procedures, other parts of the intelligence community-like the National Counter-Terrorism Center and the National Counter-Proliferation Center, often depend on the information collected under these provisions. Losing or changing these authorities could adversely impact the intelligence community's ability to analyze and share important national intelligence information. According to Director Mueller, with all the new technology, it is easy for a terrorist target to buy four or five cell phones, use them in quick succession, and then dump them to avoid being intercepted. He has testified that the ability to track terrorists when they do this is tremendously important. I couldn't agree more because it's pretty obvious those guys are up to something and it's not good. Our enemies often know our own laws better than we do. They understand the hoops and hurdles the government must clear to catch up to or stay ahead of them. Keep in mind that the FBI cannot use a roving wiretap until a court finds probable cause to believe that the target is an agent of a foreign power. Some critics claim the provision is to avoid meeting probable cause as surveillance moves from phone to phone. This claim is simply not accurate, as every roving wiretap must be approved by a FISA court judge. If a target changes a cell phone and there are moves to surveillance a new phone, the court is notified of that change. All of the protections to personal information that apply to any other FISA wiretap also apply to roving wiretaps. In short, while this authority is a tremendous asset and has been used 140 times over the past five years, it poses no additional civil liberties concerns and it should be renewed without delay. With regard to Section 215, the Business Records Act, over the past several years, the rallying cry against the Patriot Act has centered on Section 215, FISA business records authority, to seek FISA court authority to obtain business records such as hotel information or travel records. As with each one of the expiring provisions, it must meet the statutory standard of proof. The Inspector General from the Department of Justice conducted an investigation into the use of Section 215 orders and found no abuses of the authority. Director Mueller testified that the business records sought in terrorism investigations are absolutely essential to identifying other persons who may be involved in terrorist activities. The lone-wolf provision is the sole expiring provision under the Patriot Act that has not been used by the FBI, and this has prompted some critics to demand its repeal. The lone-wolf definition is an agent of a foreign power. Recent events have demonstrated that self-radicalizing individuals with no clear affiliation to existing terrorist groups are a growing threat to national security. The lone-wolf provision provides a counter to that threat, at least in the cases of a non-U.S. person, who is readily identifiable with a particular foreign power. The lone-wolf provision is a necessary tool that will only need to be used in limited circumstances. It's kind of like those in case of emergency break glass boxes that cover certain fire alarms and equipment. While we may not use it too much, we will certainly wish we had it when the right situation comes up. In conclusion, I am grateful for the leadership of Senators Reid and McConnell on this crucial piece of legislation. This bill will ensure that our intelligence and law enforcement professionals can continue doing what they do best, without any additional restrictions. .

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