Patriot Act reauthorization moving through US House
This morning, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to mark up legislation to reauthorize the USA Patriot Act. The House Intelligence Committee also approved two Democratic provisions placing new controls over how the FBI monitors suspected terrorists under the Patriot Act.
TYL has previously called for some reforms to the Patriot Act, fearing that several of the provisions of the legislation go too far in sacrificing freedom to protect us. Unfortunately, the same passions that led to the swift passage of the legislation in the weeks following the September 11th attacks are now fueling the legislation’s reauthorization following last week’s attacks in London.
Shortly after the terrorist attacks in London, House Judiciary Committee James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin) issued a statement saying, in part:
It is not by luck that the United States has not been attacked since September 11, 2001. It is through increased cooperation and information sharing among law enforcement and intelligence agencies as well as the enhanced domestic security and investigative tools contained in legislation such as the PATRIOT Act. The House Judiciary Committee will soon markup legislation reauthorizing the counter terrorism tools established by Congress in the PATRIOT Act after the terrorist attacks of 9-11.
The Hill reports that:
In the week after train and bus bombings in downtown London that seized world attention, House Republican leaders are hoping that Democratic criticism of unfunded rail security will translate into strong support for reauthorizing the USA Patriot Act.
The attacks in London should not lead us to rush to pass flawed legislation. We must learn from our past mistakes, made in the understandable haste to pass the Patriot Act in 2001, and not rush to reauthorize flawed legislation.