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Senate Passes 'Anti-Terrorism' Bill

by ROBERT L. JACKSON, Times Staff Writer Saturday, Oct. 13, 2001 at 5:09 PM

Congress: Electronic eavesdropping, greater authority to detain suspects are among the broad measures passed, 96 to 1. " . . .would limit detention of suspects to seven days rather than the indefinite time period sought by the administration." Oh boy, that was close!

WASHINGTON -- The Senate responded to President Bush's request

for expanded anti-terrorist powers Thursday by approving a sweeping

program that would make it easier for U.S. law enforcement officials to

detect and detain suspected terrorists.

Satisfying the concerns of some civil liberties advocates, senators voted,

96 to 1, for broad measures that, among other provisions, would limit

detention of suspects to seven days rather than the indefinite time period

sought by the administration.

Senate leaders also began discussing an agreement with the House,

which is expected to pass its own similar legislation today, to put a

five-year limit on broadening the government's authority to conduct

electronic surveillance.

Among the powers approved by the Senate were measures allowing law

enforcement to eavesdrop on e-mail and other computer

communications without permission from a court, to obtain wiretapping

authority for multiple jurisdictions from a single court and to deploy

so-called "roving wiretaps" that permit investigators to monitor a

suspect's communications across multiple devices like cellular phones.

President Bush is expected to sign promptly the combined package that

Congress sends to his desk.

So urgent was the legislation that Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle

(D-S.D.) kept his colleagues in session until they passed the measures at

close to midnight.

Daschle also succeeded in getting the Senate overwhelmingly to reject

three amendments by Sen. Russell D. Feingold (D-Wis.), who argued

that his proposals would keep law enforcement officers from invading

the privacy of innocent people with no connection to terror suspects.

Feingold cast the lone dissenting vote.

Daschle said he sympathized with Feingold's aims but cautioned that the

Senate bill already was a delicate bipartisan compromise that gave

protection to individual liberties.

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), liberal chairman of the Judiciary

Committee, said bipartisan efforts had produced "the best bill possible,

one requiring Republicans and Democrats to come together."

Leahy added: "We were able to remove a number of unconstitutional

parts the administration had proposed."

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah), the committee's ranking minority

member, said far-reaching legislation was needed because "we live in a

dangerous and difficult world today with terrorist cells in this country."

To those concerned about the potential loss of civil liberties in increasing

the powers of the FBI and other agencies, Hatch advised them to

ponder "the loss of civil liberties of those who died" in the terrorist

attacks of Sept. 11.

But Hatch said the government cannot guarantee total protection of the

public "when you have people willing to commit suicide to do us harm."

Advocating the need for roving wiretap authority, Sen. Dianne Feinstein

(D-Calif.), a Judiciary Committee member, explained that "under current

law, law enforcement must get a wiretap order for each individual phone

line. Criminals and terrorists know this, so they often manage to defeat

surveillance by simply moving locations or exchanging countless

disposable or even stolen cell phones."

Besides expanding the government's power to eavesdrop on suspects

and detain suspects and potential witnesses for limited periods, the

Senate bill also mandates the sharing of investigative data between the

FBI and CIA when such information could pertain to terrorist activities.

Previously, such data often was protected by court order or by grand

jury secrecy.

In addition, the bill increases maximum penalties for terrorist-related

crimes that result in any deaths. It also triples the number of Border

Patrol officers, Customs Service agents and U.S. immigration inspectors

along the Canadian border, the boundary that some terrorists who

hijacked airliners last month are believed to have crossed. The bill

appropriates million to upgrade technology for those agents.

Additionally, the Senate legislation includes strict anti-money-laundering

provisions designed to prevent terrorists from using U.S. banks in

furtherance of their activities, and it improves the ability of federal agents

to detect such use.

Report this post as:

...from EPIC Alert

by epic-bot Sunday, Oct. 14, 2001 at 3:03 AM


[1] Senate Approves Broad Anti-Terrorism Legislation


The U.S. Senate approved far-reaching anti-terrorism legislation late

last night, rejecting efforts to limit the measure's impact on the

privacy and civil liberties of American citizens. The Uniting and

Strengthening America Act (S. 1510) was the product of negotiations

between the Justice Department and the Senate leadership. In an

unusual departure from normal legislative procedure, the bill was sent

directly to the full Senate without any debate or consideration by the

Senate Judiciary Committee. Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) and other

colleagues, including Paul Wellstone (D-MI) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA),

unsuccessfully attempted to have the Senate vote on three amendments

designed to minimize the impact on civil liberties. "What have we

come to when we don't have either committee or Senate deliberation or

amendments on an issue of this importance?" Feingold asked. "Each of

us cares as much as anyone in this room about the fight against

terrorism, but we want to make sure we don't go beyond that goal and

intrude on our civil liberties." The unamended bill was approved by a

96-to-1 vote, with Feingold dissenting.

The Senate bill contains most of the controversial provisions

contained in the initial Justice Department anti-terrorism proposal,


- Expansion of "pen register" authority to Internet communications,

permitting law enforcement monitoring of "routing" and "addressing"

information upon a mere showing of "relevance" to an investigation

with virtually no judicial oversight. This new authority will likely

increase use of the FBI's Carnivore system.

- Authorization of "roving wiretaps" for intelligence surveillance,

allowing the issuance of "generic" court orders that could be served

on any communications facility (including universities and public

libraries) that a surveillance target might use.

- Approval of government monitoring (without judicial authorization)

of the communications of "computer trespassers," even in some

circumstances where the affected user has permission to use the

computer system.

- Authorization of searches without notification to the targeted

individual ("secret searches"), in effect allowing police break-ins to

private homes and offices.

- Relaxation of existing limitations on the sharing of surveillance

and other information between law enforcement and intelligence

agencies, removing long-standing protections designed to prevent

government investigative abuses.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to consider its anti-

terrorism bill, the PATRIOT Act (H.R. 2975), today. That measure

was approved by the House Judiciary Committee after deliberations that

marginally limited some of the most expansive powers contained in the

Justice Department proposal. The House bill, for instance, does not

contain a "secret search" provision. Significantly, it contains a

"sunset" clause that would terminate new surveillance authorities in

two years unless they are reauthorized by Congress. The

administration is attempting to have the House consider the Senate

bill in lieu of the legislation drafted by the House Judiciary


The Senate anti-terrorism bill (S. 1510) is available at:


The House anti-terrorism bill (H.R. 2975) (PDF) is available at:


EPIC's analysis of the original Justice Department proposal (the

Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001) is available at:


Report this post as:

...from ACLU

by aclu-bot Sunday, Oct. 14, 2001 at 3:05 AM


This legislation is designed to intimidate and suppress dissent. The best

response can only be: TO GET OUT IN THE STREETS TOMORROW!!!!!

Note: Berman, Sherman, Schiff, Waxman voted FOR this terrible bill. Let them

know how you feel!


ACLU "Bitterly Disappointed" in House-Senate Joint Passage of Anti-Terrorism



Friday, October 12, 2001

WASHINGTON -- The American Civil Liberties Union said today that it was

bitterly disappointed with the passage of anti-terrorism legislation, which

mirrored closely the highly controversial original legislative proposals the

Administration submitted to the House of Representatives and the Senate.

"This bill has simply missed the mark of maximizing security and, at the same

time, minimizing any adverse effects on America's freedoms," said Laura W.

Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington National Office. "Most Americans do

not recognize that Congress has just passed a bill that would give the

government expanded power to invade our privacy, imprison people without due

process and punish dissent."

Late Thursday night, the Senate passed the so-called USA Act of 2001 (S.

1510) 96 to 1 with very little debate. Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) was the only

Senator to vote against the bill. He also introduced three amendments - all

of which were defeated by his colleagues - that would have fixed several of

the bill's more glaring problems. Murphy praised Sen. Feingold for his

"courageous attempt to protect American liberties."

This morning, the House GOP leadership substituted legislative language which

matched closely both the Senate bill and the Administration's anti-terrorism

package. It replaced the language of the PATRIOT Act, a bill that had

undergone significant revision in the House Judiciary Committee to protect

civil liberties. The new legislative language was agreed to in the wee hours

of Friday morning and its substitution passed by a very thin margin after

minimal debate.

Before final passage, the modified PATRIOT Act (HR 2975) was met by robust

opposition on the floor by House Democrats but, nevertheless, was finally

ratified by a vote of 337 to 79, with 3 Republicans voting against and 129

Democrats voting in favor.

It is as yet unclear whether the Senate and House will have to negotiate a

compromise between their respective bills in conference. Given the

similarities between the bills, the Senate may take up the House bill, making

a conference unnecessary and "therefore forestalling any real opportunity to

make a bad bill better," Murphy said. It is possible that the legislation

could reach the President's desk as early as next week.

Pressure from the White House and the Department of Justice on Congress to

quickly pass an anti-terrorism bill modeled closely on the Administration's

proposals has been increasingly fierce over the past several days. The

Washington Post criticized the Administration in an October 3rd editorial:

"Attorney General John Ashcroft continues implicitly to flog Congress for

engaging in the balancing act that should have been his responsibility but

that he skipped past. He warns of the possibility of further terrorist

activity, which we have no doubt is real. The implication is that if it

occurs it will be partly the fault of those who insist on modifying this


"In rushing through its legislation, the Administration has undercut any

attempt at good faith negotiation with Democrats, the American public and

even members of its own party," Murphy said. "If the bill does go to

conference, we urge lawmakers to reestablish in the bill the proper balance

between the requirements of safety and the necessity of liberty," Murphy


According to the ACLU, the most troubling provisions in both the Senate and

the modified House anti-terrorism legislation now include:

Permits Information Sharing: Allows information obtained during criminal

investigations to be distributed to the CIA, NSA, INS, Secret Service and

military, without judicial review, and with no limits as to how these

agencies can use the information once they have it.

Authorizes "Sneak and Peek Searches": Authorizes expanded use of covert

searches for any criminal investigation, thus allowing the government to

enter your home, office or other private place and conduct a search, take

photographs, and download your computer files without notifying you until


Allows Forum Shopping: Law enforcement can apply for warrants in any court in

any jurisdiction where it is conducting an investigation for a search

anywhere in the country. This would make it very difficult for individuals

subjected to searches to challenge the warrant.

Creates New Crime of Domestic Terrorism: Creates an entirely new type of

crime, which is unnecessary for the prosecution of the "War on Terrorism." By

expanding the definition of terrorism in such a way, the bill could

potentially allow the government to levy heavy penalties for relatively minor

offenses, including political protests.

Allows the CIA to Spy on Americans: Gives the Director of Central

Intelligence the power to manage the gathering of intelligence in America and

mandate the disclosure of information obtained by the FBI about terrorism in

general - even if it is about law-abiding American citizens - to the CIA.

Imposes Indefinite Detention: Permits authorities to indefinitely detain

non-citizens, without meaningful judicial review.

Reduces Privacy in Student Records: Allows law enforcement to access, use and

disseminate highly personal information about American and foreign students.

Expands Wiretap Authority: Minimizes judicial supervision of law enforcement

wiretap authority in several ways, including: permitting law enforcement to

obtain the equivalent of "blank" warrants in the physical world; authorizing

intelligence wiretaps that need not specify the phone to be tapped or require

that only the target's conversations be eavesdropped upon; and allowing the

FBI to use its "intelligence" authority to circumvent the judicial review of

the probable cause requirement of the Fourth Amendment.

Last Updated: 10-12-01

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