USA PATRIOT Act extension fails

Some tea party Republicans shocked their party leadership by joining with many Democrats to deny the 2/3 vote necessary to pass an extension of some parts of the odious USA PATRIOT Act that violates many of our privacy rights.

The Patriot Act measure would have extended through the end of the year three provisions that are set to expire Feb. 28. One authorizes the FBI to use roving wiretaps on surveillance targets; the second allows the government to access “any tangible items,” such as library records, in the course of surveillance; and the third allows for the surveillance of targets who are not connected to an identified terrorist group.

These measures will undoubtedly pass later under different rules that require only a simple majority, but this is the kind of issue-focused coalition that I was urging that we need to work towards.

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