Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Patriot Act Strengthened 

While Daily Kossians continued to throw pies at each other, the Senate Committee on Intelligence (a contradiction in terms) voted to give more powers to the FBI:

WASHINGTON, June 7 - The Federal Bureau of Investigation would gain the right to demand a variety of records in terror cases without a judge's approval, under an expanded version of the law known as the USA Patriot Act that the Senate intelligence committee approved late Tuesday after a closed-door debate.

I was counting on Senator Rockefeller, who initially opposed this expansion of powers, to exercise reason. Instead, behind a closed door, under the cover of secrecy he and other members of the committee cowardly voted for the expansion of powers.

Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, a West Virginia Democrat who is the vice chairman of the committee, voted for the legislation, saying that the Patriot Act powers are critical tools in the fight against terrorism.

But he said in a statement issued Tuesday evening that he objected to some of the proposed expansions of investigative powers and would continue to work to try to revise the bill.

The House Judiciary Committee, who also must approve or disapprove changes to the Patriot Act, is now all that stands to block expansion of the Patriot Act; it also requires a full vote of Congress.