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Senate Fails To Reauthorize Patriot Act Provisions 538

PostConsumerRecycled writes "CNN is reporting that 'The Senate on Friday rejected attempts to reauthorize several provisions of the USA Patriot Act as infringing too much on Americans' privacy and liberty, dealing a huge defeat to the Bush administration and Republican leaders ... If a compromise is not reached, the 16 Patriot Act provisions expire on December 31.' The story also links to listing of the provisions that will expire."
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Senate Fails To Reauthorize Patriot Act Provisions

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  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:36PM (#14275734)

    It's rather wryly amusing that the event that might have tipped the scales against the renewal of the Patriot Act was Dubya authorizing the unlawful surveillance of American citizens [].

    Honestly, we can't expect any better conduct from Bush, a president who has been quoted as saying the Constitution is'just a goddamned piece of paper' []. Apparently he's forgotten all about that oath he took twice to uphold said 'piece of paper'. Fortunately, it looks like most of the Senate (including a few noteworthy Republicans who crossed the aisle on this one) have a slightly higher regard for the Constitution of the Unites States.

    Excellent quote from TFA:
    "I don't want to hear again from the attorney general or anyone on this floor that this government has shown it can be trusted to use the power we give it with restraint and care,"
    Senator Russ Feingold D-Wisconson, and the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act in 2001.
    • Just a (Score:2, Interesting)

      by eddy ( 18759 )

      Assuming it's true he said that, I wish someone had stepped up and replied "... and the bible is just a god damned [human authored] book"

    • It is almost certain that it will pass in some form. Hopefully, the really nasty parts are gone.
    • by robson ( 60067 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:48PM (#14275891)
      Honestly, we can't expect any better conduct from Bush, a president who has been quoted as saying the Constitution is'just a goddamned piece of paper'.

      Wasn't that Capitol Hill Blue article highly suspect? When I read it it just didn't sound real; no source is cited, and the quotes were just ridiculously over-the-top.

      I'm not defending the President, mind you; I'm just saying we don't need fictional arguments against him when we have plenty of factual ones.
    • "Honestly, we can't expect any better conduct from Bush, a president who has been quoted as saying the Constitution is'just a goddamned piece of paper' []. Apparently he's forgotten all about that oath he took twice to uphold said 'piece of paper'. Fortunately, it looks like most of the Senate (including a few noteworthy Republicans who crossed the aisle on this one) have a slightly higher regard for the Constitution of the Unites States."

      I'm sorry, but this is the first I've ever heard of this--th
    • As much as I don't like what GWB has been doing (I think PATRIOT is a G-D piece of paper that should be burned), the article seems more than a bit suspect.
    • Fortunately, it looks like most of the Senate (including a few noteworthy Republicans who crossed the aisle on this one) have a slightly higher regard for the Constitution of the Unites States.

      Not most -- a majority voted to end the filibuster, but they fell short of the required 60%.

    • by dabigpaybackski ( 772131 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:59PM (#14276024) Homepage
      Apparently he's forgotten all about that oath he took twice to uphold said 'piece of paper'.

      Make that three times. He's ex-military, remember?"

    • From TFA:
      "Those that would give up essential liberties in pursuit in a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security," said Sen. John Sununu, R-New Hampshire.

      Don't worry, Sununu didn't come up with that quote on his own. That's copied verbatim from Ben Franklin. Someone screwed up citing that.
  • Fails? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cheapy ( 809643 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:37PM (#14275747)
    Why did they fail? I see it as a success in not authoritizing it.
    • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:57PM (#14276001) Journal
      While I'd hesitate to call any of the Senate Republicans "leaders", what's happened here is that the Democrats have threatened to filibuster a Republican attempt to pass this evil thing, and the Republican honchos in and outside the Senate have failed to get complete enough Republican support to override it if they do. That doesn't mean it's over yet - they've got until the end of the year, and Frist is threatening to keep trying, just in case any Democrats were planning to go home for Christmas before the right-wing Republicans go home for Winter Holidays. So America could still get screwed. Also, of course, they could start a new evil bill next year, but at least this one would have temporarily expired, and they'd have to deal with more extensive debate than the original Patriot Act, and come up with yet another obsequious name for it.

      I can't really call this a success, because the Senate didn't have the guts to actively reject it, but at least it's a start.

    • Re:Fails? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @07:14PM (#14276162)
      > Why did they fail? I see it as a success in not authoritizing it.

      You're obviously not a Senator.

      If you look at it from the point of view of someone who stands to get a lot of campaign donations in exchange funneling federal dollars to surveillance and detention centers in his constituents' disctrict, and a lot of votes from his constituents for the jobs they'll get running the camps and being on the Stasi payroll, it's indeed a failure.

      All around the world, freedom is on the march! Why does the Constitution stand in the way? The constitution hates us for our freedom!

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:37PM (#14275754)
    Russ for President in 2008
    • by orthogonal ( 588627 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @07:03PM (#14276060) Journal
      Russ for President in 2008

      Amen to that!

      It's Russ Feingold, not faux "conservative" George W. Bush or the Republican party, who is upholding the most fundamental traditional American value: our freedom from tyrannical government.

      Although I'm something of a liberal, I respected Ronald Reagan because he opposed Soviet tyranny. You remember Soviet Russia, right? Where secret police recorded every conversation, where people were arrested without warrants or habeas corpus, where "enemies of the state" were sent to gulags?

      Ronald Reagan, whatever his other faults, was against that. George Dubya does all that: he's spying on Americans, arresting US citizens without giving them access to the courts, and legalized torture. He's even re-opened secret prisons in Eastern Europe.

      And under Dubya's watch, we've seen extraordinary government secrecy, political appointees overruling government scientist and legal experts, and pervasive corruption in Washington.

      This is the limited government and personal responsibility Conservatism is supposed to be all about?

      Let's elect Russ Feingold, the only senator with the presence of mind to vote against the original Patriot Act.
    • by whovian ( 107062 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @07:22PM (#14276237)
      Russ for President in 2008

      Sorry you got modded a troll.

      What the moderator probably didn't know is just how instrumental Senator Russ Feingold was in rallying fellow senators' support. Here is the text to his speech:

      Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold
      Remarks as the Senate Considers Ending Debate on Reauthorization of the USA PATRTIOT Act

      As Prepared

      December 16, 2005

      Mr. President, on Wednesday evening, I laid out in detail my concerns about the Patriot Act reauthorization bill that we are now considering on the floor. In its current form, I cannot support the conference report, and I cannot consent to limit debate on it. The leaders of this Congress need to figure out a way to change this report to address the important civil liberties issues that I and other Senators from both sides of the aisle have discussed over the past three days.

      This morning we saw an astounding story in the New York Times. Since 2002, the government has been reportedly wiretapping the international phone and email conversations of hundreds, even thousands of people inside the United States, without wiretap orders. You want to talk about abuses? I can't imagine a more shocking example of an abuse of power, to eavesdrop on American citizens without first getting a court order based on some evidence that they are possibly criminals, terrorists or spies. Mr. President, it is truly astonishing to read that this Administration would go this far beyond the bounds of the statutes and the Constitution. We as an institution have the duty, the obligation, to get to the bottom of this.

      I hope that this morning's revelation drives home to people that this body must be absolutely vigilant in our oversight of government power. And I don't want to hear again from the Attorney General or anyone on this floor that this government has shown it can be trusted to use the power we give it with restraint and care. This shocking revelation ought to send a chill down the spine of every Senator and every American.

      With that in mind, let me review my main concerns about this conference report.

      First, section 215. Remember, this is the section where Attorney General Ashcroft once said that librarians concerned about the privacy rights of their patrons were "hysterical." But then the current Attorney General conceded at his nomination hearing in the Senate Judiciary that some changes would be justified. Unfortunately, the Administration was not willing to make real changes to the provision to protect the rights and freedoms of innocent Americans.

      The other night, I described in detail the evolution of this provision through the legislative process. The bottom line is this - the Senate bill had a three prong test requiring some connection between the records sought and a person suspected of being a terrorist or spy. The conference report abandoned that connection and instead relies on a standard of relevance to an intelligence investigation. That is pretty much an "anything goes" standard that fails to protect the records of law-abiding Americans. There is no requirement in this conference report that will prevent government fishing expeditions. Read the provision and it is as plain as day. The three prong test has been turned into three examples of relevance. They are not protections at all against government overreaching.

      The provisions of the bill relating to National Security Letters are also seriously deficient. There is no requirement that the records sought under that authority, which doesn't involve a court at all, have some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy. The judicial review that the conference report allows after the fact, of the NSL itself and the mandatory gag order, is a mirage. After what the Times reported this morning, no one in this body should be comfortable with the government having this kind of unreviewable power.

      Finally, there is the issue of so-called sneak and peek searches, when the government secretly e

  • by aapold ( 753705 ) * on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:38PM (#14275765) Homepage Journal
    The New England Patriots have won three superbowls and not lost a playoff game. Now the act is in trouble... and the Pats are banged up, and no one gives them any chances to repeat. Coincidence?
  • Does this mean that they're finally listening to the people? Or are there no people to listen to, and we're just the minority?
    • by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:45PM (#14275856)
      Wanna be heard? Someone start a

    • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:59PM (#14276022) Journal
      What has happened is that Bush is now a liability to the Republicans. While he could deliver the goods, they were quite willing to be his little lackeys, but now that he's a lame duck whose policies and very person are increasingingly unpopular with the American people, the Republicans are going to attempting to beat the Democrats to the "the President's no friend" position on the political map. Why do you think Frist has become some sort of insta-centrist and nobody is crying a tear over DeLay's troubles? Bush is isolated now, and is going to see what having a non-compliant Congress is really like. It's these sorts of things that will demonstrate just what kind of man you Americans have put in the White House. Thus far, it appears that my dog is a better political leader than Bush is.
    • No, they're not really listening very well. This wasn't a vote to kill the evil bill - this was the Democrats threatening to filibuster it if there's a vote on it, and the Republicans not having enough control over their party members to override and limit debate. Some of the Democrats, and maybe even some Republicans, may be listening to their consciences here, which would be a good start, or to reasoned public comment, though mostly they're listening to the political winds blowing and deciding that it's
  • Shocking (Score:5, Funny)

    by daspriest ( 904701 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:39PM (#14275777)
    Holy shit.... The government actually made a decision I agree with.
    • This might lead to desparate measures. Of course, seeing the Bush administration heed desperate measures will probably be more like watching a train wreck. Makes you cringe, but entertaining at the same time.
  • Sununu (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ShibaInu ( 694434 )
    Oddly enough, one of the Senators who wished the act would die was John Sununu. Good for him.
    • He must be running for re-election next year, and feeling weak.
    • He's not cuddly but he is smart [].

      "One of the Omni readers who scored highest on the Mega Test was John H. Sununu, then the governor of New Hampshire, and later Chief of Staff under President Bush. His score of 44 correct gave him an estimated I.Q. of 180 (achievable by approximately one in 3 million). "
    • "Those that would give up essential liberties in pursuit in a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security," said Sen. John Sununu (news, bio, voting record), R-N.H. They suggested a short extension so negotiations could continue, but the Senate scrapped a Democratic-led effort to renew the USA Patriot Act for just three months before the vote began.

      I was a bit surprised to see Sununu quoting Ben Franklin myself.
  • It's Too Bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quaoar ( 614366 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:42PM (#14275820)
    ...that if there is another terrorist attack on U.S. soil near the scale of 9/11, that the pendulum will just swing the other way. We know now how far the government is willing to go to "protect" us, and they'll do it again in a heartbeat.
    • Re:It's Too Bad... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kmak ( 692406 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:53PM (#14275960)
      Seems like the argument's tipped either way:

      No terrorist attack = "It was working, see!"
      Terrorist attacks = "PATRIOT Act wasn't enough, that's why we need PATRIOT Act II!" ...

      And the other argument that "Hey, (almost) no one you know was a target of the act!" Nevermind that you would never find out if they did, and there are provisions that makes it illegal to talk about it if you got investigated..

      Whatever happened to transparency?
    • Re:It's Too Bad... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @07:12PM (#14276145) Journal
      Let's not forget that the US government had ample opportunity to stop the Sept 11 attacks even without the PATRIOT act. They failed thanks to ossified bureaucracy, not a lack of police powers.

      And it is quite possible to plan a large-scale attack on Americans without setting foot in the United States (for example, this []). But thanks to a stubbornly unilateral foreign policy, the United States has trouble getting the international cooperation it needs to protect its citizens.

      Thirty years from now, the current administration will be a textbook example of how not to conduct a campaign against terrorism.
  • put another way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DarkClown ( 7673 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:43PM (#14275825) Homepage
    don't really like 'Senate Fails To Reauthorize Patriot Act Provisions' would prefer Senate Succeeds in failing To Reauthorize Patriot Act Provisions'
  • WOOT! (Score:3, Funny)

    by NtroP ( 649992 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:44PM (#14275842)
    Hear my mightly WOOT!
  • Law? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dada21 ( 163177 ) * <> on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:45PM (#14275854) Homepage Journal
    When our officials follow the laws granting them enumerated and limited power, I'll be impressed.

    The is no provision for the PATRIOT Act in the Constitution.

    Don't believe it is Bush's doing, either. Both parties are equally guilty of violating their oaths to uphold the Constitution.
  • by jfern ( 115937 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:51PM (#14275931)
    It would have passed without a fillibuster, but the fillibuster was sustained with 52 votes against (60 are needed to end a fillibuster). Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin led the fillibuster.
  • a good thing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fireduck ( 197000 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:51PM (#14275932)
    Can't honestly say I know a whole lot about the Patriot Act, but Glenn Reynolds discussed it in his msnbc blog today []. He quotes another blog [] which basically states that only about 1% of the Patriot Act is expiring due to the non-reauthorization. And that futher, much of the reauthorization would have put limits on the egregous non-expiring stuff. So, this is a mixed bag. Not sure if it's a victory or not. It's a symbolic victory, but perhaps not substantial...

  • ...I wouldn't really call it a failure.
  • Bad title of story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoSuchGuy ( 308510 ) <do-not-harvest-m ...> on Friday December 16, 2005 @06:54PM (#14275969) Journal
    "Senate fails To Reauthorize Patriot Act Provisions."

    should be named into

    Senate rejects to reauthorize Patriot Act Provisions

  • link to patriot act (Score:2, Informative)

    by GeekyMike ( 575177 )
    Patriot act [] big PDF warning. I am happy that our government is actually trying to restore our rights. First they let the assault weapon ban drop, now they let the patriot act die. I know it is early, but this may be a step in the right direction. Hopefully we can continue to elect out the lawmakers who would lie and steal their voter's rights. IMHO moving away from the 2 party system would be another step in the right direction, but I will take what I can get.
  • by SenatorTreason ( 640653 ) <senatortreason AT gmail DOT com> on Friday December 16, 2005 @07:14PM (#14276160)
    Allowing the Patriot Act to lapse is one of the few truly patriotic things this Congress has done.

    How did *your* Senator vote? []
  • by slo_learner ( 729232 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @07:27PM (#14276276)
    I'm going to put on my flame retardant suit and fire this one up. The problem is that people want to kill us. In order to protect ourselves, we can simply stop everyone who wants to kill us from succeding (Patriot Act). This works great if there are very few people who want to kill us. If there are too many people who want to kill us then limiting that number becomes crucial.

    Unfortunately, this means we have to ask ourselves why people want to kill us. The GWB story is that they are jealous because we are the embodiment of god's will (I'm paraphrasing). Personally, I think it is more closely related to foreign policy especially as it relates to domestic energy policies.

    If the notion that we might want to understand why terrorists, and deposed dictators don't like us is too unpatriotic, then I guess we will continue with the same type of policies. Considering that we sold Saddam WMDs and trained and funded Al Qaeda this might be worth a second look.
    • Read the reasons [] for yourself.
    • While flipping through some TV channels, I was unfortunate enough to catch a few moments of a smirking politician rambling on about freedom and liberty. What a tragic comedy. The fact politicians still have a market to spew their crap is a testament to the lack of thought of the average viewer of such pretended "news" programs.

      A few minutes of thought and any literate person of any degree of intelligence would dismiss politicians as con men. However, has any "journalist" on television, radio or in print eve
  • Word choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by j00bar ( 895519 ) <slashdot@fGINSBE ... minus poet> on Friday December 16, 2005 @07:28PM (#14276288) Homepage
    Does anybody else despise CNN's word choice of "fails" in this headline? The Senate "fails" implies that it is something that should have been done but they were simply unable to achieve. How about a more neutral word, like "declines"? -jag
  • This is NOT over!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peacefinder ( 469349 ) <> on Friday December 16, 2005 @07:45PM (#14276432) Journal
    Don't celebrate too soon.

    Note that Sen. Frist voted with the majority. He didn't do this because he agreed that the act should expire, but because it will allow him to call a new vote whenever he sees that he can turn the tables. And given his Senate leadership position, that means he can wait until a few people leave chambers and call a quick vote very easily.

    This will not be over even if the act does expire... you can expect to see some provisions stealthily wedged into unrelated bills next year. The only way to really end this is to elect a Congress and President that takes civil liberties seriously.

    Get on it, people. The 2006 Congressional elections are coming up fast.
  • One sided debate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BagMan2 ( 112243 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @08:28PM (#14276733)
    I've seen a lot of one sided debates on Slashdot (particularly Microsoft bashing), but I think this one wins hands down. I would dare say that 99% of the people posting haven't actually read the Patriot Act or even its main provisions. They are like sheep following a few ACLU freaks that have no common sense when it comes to balancing security needs against liberties.

    Most of the provisions are just common sense loopholes in the old law that should be permanently plugged. For example, roaming wiretaps. So, I can get a warrant to wire-tap a particular phone, regardless of who is using it, but I can't get a warrant to on-the-fly wiretap any phone the suspect happens to pick up. How does that make any sense at all? The Patriot Act plugs this silly problem because technology allows an officer with a warrant to wiretap an individual to immediately tap any phone the suspect picks up within a matter a seconds.

    And even then the Patriot Act limits this ability to terrorism investigations. Law enforcement has had this ability for years when dealing with organized crime, but it has been prohibited in other types of investigations. Only a moron would think this provision an assault on civil liberties.

    Or how about the provision that allows spy agencies to share intelligence they have discovered with law enforcement agencies. This was a big problem leading up to 9/11, where intelligence agencies had information that would have gave the FBI a fighting chance at preventing the attacks, but by law weren't allowed to share the information. Yeah, I can see how letting the CIA tell the FBI about some terrorist that just entered the country might infringe on my civil liberties....NOT.

    The list goes on but I think you get the point. There are certainly some provisions that are a little questionable, but on the whole the Patriot Act makes a lot of sense. I really fail to see how any of these provisions could be construed to reach the level of 'unreasonable searches and seizures". Just more ACLU propoganda run amuck.

    If you want a two sided debate, how about somebody post a specific provision of the Patriot Act that they don't like and explain how it personally affects their personal liberties.
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      That is along the lines of defenting Capitol punishment because killing a few innocent is the price we pay for safety.

      If ONE innocent dies then the plan is flawed. so one provision in the Patriot act that violates the Constitution means you throw the whole damned thing out.

      The problem is that 99.997% of everything passed is never read. Let's pass a quickie law that states for ANY bill to recieve a vote all voting must have read it in it's entierty and understand it.

      THAT would solve the problem. Almost all
    • by Crudely_Indecent ( 739699 ) * on Friday December 16, 2005 @11:10PM (#14277537) Journal
      An example:
      210, 211 allow the government to retrieve non-content information from ISP's including IP address assignments, billing and payment information (including bank account and credit card numbers)

      Inform me if I'm wrong, but this applies to everyone reading this post. The gov't can get the account numbers from the credit companies, so why are they obtaining it from ISP's? (of course, this is to identify accomplices who pay for the internet service...but, I'll continue) As a network administrator, I protect my users by limiting the duration network logs are stored. Unfortunately, I cannot do the same with billing and payment information. When the government comes knocking, I have to cough up anything they wish for and they're not required to provide a court order to get it.

      217 - provides the ability for the gov't to spy on anyone suspected of computer trespassing. Ever visited a questionable site that redirected to another site that was unavailable? How easy would it be to redirect an unsuspecting user to an access controlled gov't page - thereby implicating them as a computer trespasser. It's easier than you might think.

      Have you been spied on by a foreign gov't yet? You'll probably never know because 218 defines that secret searches can now be authorized by a secret court without public knowledge or Department of Justice accountability, so long as the government can allege there is any foreign intelligence basis for the search.

      Ooh, I totally skipped 215 that private records aren't private to the gov't. Oh yeah, they can seize them without warrant.

      I would hope that these sections don't apply to me. 210 and 211 apply to me, but I resist them as much as possible. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to talk about any gov't entities that requested that information from me. The rest, I would never really know if they apply to me or not, as they gov't isn't required to tell me, or anyone that they've utilized the provisions.

      IMHO, the gov't has way overstepped it's boundaries, and has been doing so for decades. If the People don't take control of the gov't, one day, the will wake up to find they are no longer free. On that day, you'll find me (if you can) living deep in the sticks with my kitty-cat, tinfoil hat and guns.
    • by peacefinder ( 469349 ) <> on Friday December 16, 2005 @11:29PM (#14277619) Journal
      "I would dare say that 99% of the people posting haven't actually read the Patriot Act or even its main provisions. "

      I don't see why that should count against Slashdot. 95% of Congress didn't read it before they passed it in the first place.

      (By the way, I'm not kidding. They really didn't.)
    • Now that I have a little more time, let me expand on my other comment.

      Recall yourself back to the fall of 2001. We had the terrible shock of 9/11 of that year. By October 26th, the USA Patriot Act (hereafter referred to as the UPA) was signed by the President. Forty-five days may sound like it was plenty of time for Congress to properly consider a bill of such potential sensitivity. Indeed, it might have been.

      But Congress did not have 45 days.

      This bill was introduced in the House on October 23, a fact which
  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Friday December 16, 2005 @10:12PM (#14277304)
    IIRC, the "Patriot" Act was voted on by both houses and signed by Bush BEFORE it was returned from the first printing. Most, if not all, of our congress people DID NOT KNOW exactly what they were voting on, but in the hysteria of the moment they allowed themselves to be railroaded by fear.

    Hopefully, this unconstitutional abomination of a bill will never resurrect itself. Any congressmen who tries to bring this monstrosity back should be tried for treason. Why do we need to worry about terrorists when gutless politicians do more damage to the Constitution than a bomb ever could?

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.