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View Diary: GO RUSS!!: Filibuster the PATRIOT Act by Reading the Bill of Rights!! (216 comments)

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  •  Thank you Senator Feingold (none)
    (from a native Wisconsinite, currently resident in Illinois).

    Seems almost a moot point to contact Durbin on this, but I saw in it an opportunity to thank him again for his support of Harry Ried's invocation of Rule 21, and to remind him that I think he is doing a fine job of representing the people of the State of Illinois.

    Here is  the response from Senator Durbin's office on this issue:

    Thank you for contacting me about protecting civil liberties in the midst of the fight against terrorism.  I appreciate hearing from you.

    I share your interest in protecting our civil liberties, and I am
    committed to preserving our freedoms during war and peace.  We must not forget the painful lessons we learned in the past when we sacrificed liberty in the name of security.  We should never again repeat past mistakes the government has made, including the internment mandates of World War II and the wide-ranging investigations of the McCarthy era.

    Congress responded promptly to the attacks on September 11th by crafting bipartisan anti-terrorism legislation called the USA PATRIOT Act.  I supported this legislation because it addressed gaps in our laws that have unnecessarily hindered law enforcement efforts against terrorists and other criminals.  The bill updated wiretap and electronic surveillance laws that had been unchanged since the era of rotary telephones.  This
    bill also provided authorization to hire more FBI translators, to triple the number of agents along our northern border, and to provide assistance to crime victims and to the families of fallen public safety officers.

        The PATRIOT Act is not perfect.  It has flaws that need correction.  To address these flaws, Senator Larry Craig and I introduced the Security and Freedom Ensured (SAFE) Act, S. 737.  This narrowly-tailored bipartisan legislation would protect civil liberties while giving law enforcement officials the powers they need to fight terrorism.

        I am pleased that many provisions from the SAFE Act were included in the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act, which the Senate passed on July 29, 2005 by unanimous consent.  For instance, the bill would:

    ?    protect the privacy of innocent Americans by requiring the government to convince a judge that a person is connected to terrorism or espionage before obtaining their library records, medical records or other sensitive personal information.

    ?    Protect innocent Americans from covert surveillance by prohibiting "John Doe" roving wiretaps, which do not identify the person or the phone to be wiretapped.  The bill would require the government to describe the target of the roving wiretap with particularity.

    ?    Protect privacy by requiring the government to notify the target of a "sneak and peak" search within seven days, instead of the undefined delay that is currently permitted by the PATRIOT Act.

    ?    Enhance congressional oversight by terminating the government's authority to obtain sensitive personal records and to conduct roving wiretaps in four years.

    ?    Enhance congressional and public oversight of the government by requiring increased reporting to the public and to Congress regarding the operation of the PATRIOT Act.

        Like the PATRIOT Act, the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act is not perfect, but the changes it would make would significantly improve the current law.  I am committed to defending our country while protecting
    our civil liberties and our principles of freedom and justice.  I will continue to work to ensure that the reforms included in this bill are enacted into law.

        Thanks again for your message.

                        Sincerely,

                        Richard J. Durbin
                        United States Senator

    "I think the President should look across the country and find the most qualified man, woman, or minority."-Trent Lott

    by starkravinglunaticradical on Fri Nov 18, 2005 at 11:40:48 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

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