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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Thursday, December 8, 2005

Congress Agrees to Extend the PATRIOT Act

"Congressional leaders reached a deal Thursday to extend key provisions of the Patriot Act...Under the deal, 16 provisions set to expire at the end of the year will be extended for four more years...The deal marks Congress' first revision of the law...The provisions include the two most controversial elements -- secret FBI access to library and business records and roving wiretaps.  Roving wiretaps involve the use eavesdropping devices that prevent a target from evading law enforcement officials by switching phones or computers. A "lone wolf" provision that sets standards for monitoring terror suspects who might be operating independently also survived...But the deal reached Thursday would force law enforcement to seek a court's approval before getting access to library and business records. 'Under existing law, a law enforcement agent could obtain these records, unilaterally, on a declaration of relevance," Specter said. "The conference report now requires a judge to review a statement of facts. And the court has to be satisfied that these records are relevant to a terrorism investigation.'" Read more. . . [Mark Godsey]

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