GOP senator wants changes in the Patriot Act

| 10/21/2003

Sen. Larry Craig, R-ID, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wants Congress to modify parts of the USA Patriot Act or see the law die in two years, The Associated Press reported.

Passed by Congress after the September 11 attacks, the act has been criticized by civil liberty and privacy organizations as being too intrusive. But the Justice Department has defended it, saying it has been key to preventing a second catastrophic terrorist attack.

The Patriot Act allows authorities to go before a three-judge panel and get permission to secretly search the homes of suspected terrorists. It also allows a court to authorize subpoenas of library loan records and bookstore receipts of suspected terrorists, as well as allowing law enforcement to seek “John Doe” roving wiretaps and nationwide search warrants.

The revisions, introduced two weeks ago, would require the FBI to demonstrate suspicion that a person is suspected of terrorism or spying before seizing library or business records, and would require the FBI to get a court order to get electronic communications from a library instead of using just an administrative subpoena.

It also would end nationwide search warrants, forcing Congress to re-evaluate the power; require “John Doe” roving wiretaps to name either the person or the place to be tapped; and require law-enforcement officials to inform a judge every seven days that telling the subject of a secret search would cause the destruction of evidence, tampering with evidence or a threat to someone's life.