4-year extension of expiring Patriot Act provisions approved

May 27, 2011

Wikimedia/Rand Paul, at a town hall meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, 11/7/2009/Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons Attribution.

President Barack Obama, who is attending a summit in France, approved key provisions of the Patriot Act that were due to expire at midnight, via an automated signing into law of the four-year extension.

After passing the Senate 72-23, the Republican-led House  voted by a 250-153 Thursday night to extend the controversial terrorism-fighting law which was originally passed after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.  The passing vote came down to the wire because the deal was filibustered by Rand Paul, the junior senator from Kentucky who successfully stopped the provisions from becoming permanent.  Sen. Paul held up Senate floor proceedings to protest what he characterized as an unconstitutional overreach by the federal government into private affairs.

The measure extends three of the Patriot Act’s main provisions, including the tracking of alleged “lone wolf” terrorists ,and the ability of law enforcement officials to obtain any records they deem relevant to an investigation after securing an order from a federal court.


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