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Posts tagged: Patriot Act

Four More Years

The U.S. House and Senate have approved a four year extension of key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, due to expire at midnight. President Obama is traveling overseas, but will be able to sign the law at the appointed time using a device called the autopen, enacting the law.
The recent success in locating Osama bin Laden has been one powerful example that proponents of the extension have used to illustrate the importance its passage. The abilities granted law enforcement via the USA PATRIOT Act are crucial to maintaining national security, they argue, and played a key role in the terrorist’s demise.
Opponents, including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, fear that the law as it stands could enable the abuse of government power. Sen. Paul has introduced a number of amendments to the USA PATRIOT Act but only two were ever brought to a vote. None passed.
For more information about the USA PATRIOT Act:

By the way, have you ever wondered why all the capitalizing with USA PATRIOT Act? Did you know that PATRIOT stands for:
Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism
Yours in Intellectual Freedom,
Diane Lynch

Patriot Act Sunset Update

Here’s where it stands: The sunsets for the three expiring sections of the USA PATRIOT Act, including Section 215 (business records, a.k.a. the library provision) were extended in both the House and Senate until May 27, 2011. Amendment 524, sponsored by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, sought to prohibit use of funds for making application under FISA for an order requiring the production of library circulation records, library patron lists, book sales records, or book customer lists. This was defeated. ALA states that “While it is a disappointing loss, the changes proposed in Amendment #524 can be re-introduced as the debate moves forward on the PATRIOT Act.”

(FYI, none of these three provisions address the much debated National Security Letters or NSLs)

 Stay tuned for more exciting updates.

 Yours in Intellectual Freedom,

Diane Lynch

Sources: ALA District Dispatch

Patriot Act Update

Dear Riveted Readers,

When last I updated you, the outcome of HR 514 was unclear. The House of Reps had yet to vote on it again. They did hold another vote on 2/10/11. ALA stated that the House of Representatives, which defeated H.R. 514, had another vote Thursday, February 10th. This bill sought to extend three sections of the USA PATRIOT Act, including Section 215, the business records section, often referred to as the “library provision.” So, results of the Feb 10th vote? According to, accessed 2/14/11 at
Latest Action: 2/10/2011 Rule H. Res. 79 passed House.
Now, as you may recall from my last communication, ALA feels that Senator Leahy’s bill S. 290 = good for libraries, while H.R. 514 = bad. So, this isn’t a terrific development for library world. How long would this be in effect? Because you are dying to know?
To extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving wiretaps until December 8, 2011.

 SO, it’s not forever. But not the outcome we would have liked. And there is still Senator Leahy’s legislation to come. Plenty of reason to remain hopeful.

Yours in Intellectual Freedom,
Diane Lynch
IF Committee Chair

Patriot Act Renewal Delayed

Diane Lynch, Intellectual Freedom Committee Chair, recommends the following article at from Dec. 16th as a good overview of what’s going on with the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Here’s a brief excerpt from the start of the article…

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has rejected a Senate plan to include amendments to the Patriot Act in a larger Pentagon funding bill covering the soaring cost of the war in Afghanistan, arguing that to do so would lead to a “revolt on the left,” according to Democratic insiders.

Pelosi’s decision, announced at a closed-door leadership meeting Monday, has forced Democrats to go with a backup plan of extending the Patriot Act until early next year, essentially punting the controversial issue into 2010, when a broader agreement with the Senate can be struck. The vote is now scheduled to take place early next year."

For more coverage of the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, visit this page on the ALA site,

PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009 update

From ALA’s Washington Office…

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s passage of the USA PATRIOT Amendments Act of 2009 (H.R. 3845) yesterday put Congress back on track to achieve comprehensive reform of our nation’s surveillance laws, say the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL).

“Chairman Conyers and other leaders in the House Judiciary Committee conducted a thorough, open debate of H.R. 3845,” ALA President Camila Alire said. “The weak bill the Senate released after closed-door negotiations would not provide library patrons with privacy online, but H.R. 3845 includes many provisions that will re-establish the balance between the needs of law enforcement and the rights of the American public.”

Read more here…