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Patriot Act Compromise:
The Associated Press has a report on how Congress is likely to resolve the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act:
  House and Senate negotiators struck a tentative deal on the expiring Patriot Act that would curb FBI subpoena power and require the Justice Department to more fully report its secret requests for information about ordinary people, according to officials involved in the talks.
  The agreement, which would make most provisions of the existing law permanent, was reached just before dawn Wednesday. But by midmorning GOP leaders had already made plans for a House vote on Thursday and a Senate vote by the end of the week. That would put the centerpiece of President Bush's war on terror on his desk before Thanksgiving, a month before more than a dozen provisions were set to expire.
  This sounds positive as an abstract matter, but, as we know, the devil is in the details. If anyone has more information about the details of the compromise, I hope you'll leave a comment. Links to actual proposed text would be best of all.
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
According to Bloomberg, here are some of the changes proposed:
Under the agreement reached by Sensenbrenner and Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, businesses and organizations that receive Federal Bureau of Investigation requests for information on customers or suppliers through National Security Letters would have for the first time a right to appeal the demand to a judge, Lungren said. Some FBI requests would require a ``statement of facts'' showing how the information is relevant to an investigation.
. . .
Under the compromise, some provisions that allow so-called multiple ``roving'' wiretaps and special treatment of ``lone wolf'' terrorists would expire in seven years.
The FBI would need to state a specific target for a ``roving'' wiretap and update a special court about its use. The Justice Department has said terrorists often will switch phones, requiring the capability of changing the wiretap.
A court could decide to deny a request made by a National Security Letter if complying would be ``unreasonable or oppressive,'' the same standard used to quash a subpoena.
The accord would require the Justice Department to report the annual number of information requests made with National Security Letters. Earlier this month, the Washington Post reported the government is sending out 30,000 such letters a year.
The agreement excludes controversial provisions unrelated to the Patriot Act such as changes to death-penalty procedures that had drawn criticism from Democrats and civil-rights groups.


Here are the House and Senate versions of the bills.
11.16.2005 2:20pm
Hattio (mail):
How is this positive?
11.16.2005 3:13pm
Zargon (mail):
How is this positive?

Because if you don't give up your freedoms, the terrorists will win! Booga-booga.
11.16.2005 3:35pm
gwulaw (mail):
Hattio... do you want to live in a police state?
11.16.2005 3:44pm
Ryan (mail):
gwulaw- what? Do you think we live in a police state now?
11.16.2005 4:52pm
Hattio (mail):
No, that's why I think any re-authorization is terrible. But, that's personally. My comment was more to the fact that I can see either side hating this compromise. Those who think the Patriot act was necessary see this as letting the terrorists win, and those who fear the Patriot act seeing it as not nearly enough...especially now that those provisions are becoming permanent.
11.16.2005 4:55pm
carpundit (www):
Require a statement of facts with an NSL? That's horrible. Can Congress be so stupid as to require the government to release the facts of its terrorism and espionage investigations to the third-party holders of not-constitutionally-protected information?

That would be policymaking by hysteria. You might as well let the head ACLU librarian write our laws.
11.16.2005 5:01pm
Ryan (mail):
Hattio &gwulaw: One little flaw in your argument. If you don't think we live in a police state now, how would even a full reauthorization of provisions that are already on the books put us into a police state?

Link to the conference report:

http://action.aclu.org/patriotdraft/draft_p1.pdf
11.16.2005 5:11pm
Don Hamrikck (mail):
You stated: "If anyone has more information about the details of the compromise, I hope you'll leave a comment. Links to actual proposed text would be best of all."

Here it is!

USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 (Engrossed Amendment as Agreed to by Senate)
11.16.2005 5:12pm
Don Hamrick (mail):
Well, that link didn't work.

Try this link.
11.16.2005 5:15pm
Medis:
carpundit,

A statement of facts is pretty much a necessary corollary to a right of appeal. Of course, if they want secrecy, they can go the FISA court route.
11.16.2005 5:26pm
Don Hamrick (mail):
Well, darn.

Maybe this Thomas link will work.

If it works, you want #5 in the list.
11.16.2005 5:34pm
Kevin Bankston (mail) (www):
Hi Orin--EFF has links to the draft conference report (in three parts) on our blog at . We hear there is a slightly newer draft circulating for conferee signatures now, but it's essentially the same as the one we have. We'll link to that draft as soon as we get it.
11.16.2005 6:11pm
Kevin Bankston (mail) (www):
For some reason the link didn't show up in my prior post, let's try again:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/004166.php
11.16.2005 6:12pm
Hattio (mail):
Ryan,
I never said I didn't believe this was a police state. That all depends on how you define police state; as the powers granted the government are currently used, or as they could be used under current law. Big difference. And isn't it libertarian conservatives who believe that judges are consistently expanding government power? Why shouldn't I believe this will happen under the interpretations of the Patriot Act (assuming, of course, that people know enough to challenge it in court).
11.16.2005 8:54pm
gwulaw:
There are troubling provisions in the Patriot Act. I would never characterize the US as a police state, but some of the Patriot Act provisions are emblematic of police states. Unchecked government power is never a good thing and the Patriot Act allowed too much of it. I'm not satisfied with the current Conference Committee bill... There should be more substantive oversight on, among other things, National Security Letters and Sneek and Peak searches.
11.18.2005 12:35am