RealNews

Senate Deal Kills Effort to Extend Antiterror Act

Senate Republicans backed down today from an effort to make permanent the sweeping antiterrorism powers in a 2001 act, clearing the way for passage of a less divisive measure that would still expand the government’s ability to spy on foreign terrorist suspects in the United States. In an agreement finalized over the last week, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, dropped his effort to extend provisions of the 2001 legislation, the Patriot Act, whose broad powers to investigate and track terrorist suspects are scheduled to expire in 2005. As a result, the Senate voted 90 to 4 to approve a measure expanding the government’s ability to use secret surveillance tools against terrorist suspects who are not thought to be members of known terrorist groups. Under current law, federal officials must establish a link to a foreign terrorist group in order to secure or request a secret warrant. Full Story

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