Issue: S. 990, PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011.
Result: Bill passed 72 to 23, 5 not voting. Became Public Law 112-14 (signed by the President 5-26-11).
Bill Summary: Amends the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 to extend until June 1, 2015, expiring provisions concerning roving electronic surveillance orders and requests for the production of business records and other tangible things.
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Analysis: In the wake of the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the Bush administration requested legislative authorization for unprecedented unconstitutional powers — aggressive wiretap authority, the ability to seize library and business records and wide-reaching surveillance power. Congress went along but excused the intrusion by including a sunset provision causing the authority to expire after a very limited time frame unless renewed.
As expected, each successive administration has insisted on renewal, and some politicians see an opportunity to make the unconstitutional grant of authority permanent. President Obama signed the extension into law (PL 112-14) the same day.
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Several authoritative books document how proponents of Big Brother government made America vulnerable to a very real threat of terrorism, using the resulting catastrophes to advance totalitarian measures. In the 70s, for example, campaigns of the Left succeeded in stripping America of its multiple layers of decentralized internal security — state and congressional investigative committees, intelligence departments of major city police, and counter-intelligence departments of the various branches of the armed forces.As a further reflection of the ulterior motives guiding those directing the war on terrorism, consider that the federal government has resisted using its constitutional authority to enforce our borders.
And, for decades, the Executive Branch bent over backwards to cover up the Soviet role in sponsoring the worldwide terrorist movement, while focusing exclusive public attention on the terrorist groups themselves. (See, for example, Claire Sterling, The Terror Network: The Secret War of International Terrorism (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston and Reader’s Digest Press, 1981.)