February 16, 2011 in Nation/World

Patriot Act extension advances

Associated Press
 

WASHINGTON – The Senate on Tuesday voted to extend for 90 days the legal life of three post-Sept. 11 terrorism-fighting measures, including the use of roving wiretaps, that are set to expire at the end of the month.

The short-term extension gives lawmakers a chance to review the measures that critics from both the right and left say are unconstitutional infringements on personal liberties.

The Senate voted 86-12 a day after the House agreed to extend the three provisions, including two from the 2001 USA Patriot Act, until Dec. 8. The two chambers must now agree on a common approach. With Congress in recess next week, there is pressure to reach a compromise this week.

The measures include the authority to initiate roving wiretaps on multiple electronic devices and the authority to obtain court-approved access to business records considered relevant to terrorist investigations. The third “lone wolf” provision, part of a 2004 law, permits secret intelligence surveillance of non-U.S. individuals not known to be linked to a specific terrorist activity.

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