December 15, 2009
Patriot Act renewal: No bill is better than a bad bill
By James Wilson

Three provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act will expire on December 31. Committees in both the House and Senate have approved renewal bills, but the House version includes much stronger civil liberties protections.

Let's tell Congress to pass the House version, or pass nothing at all and let these provisions expire using our "I am not afraid" campaign.

Here are my personal comments which you may copy or borrow from . . .

Specifically, please allow the following provisions of the Patriot Act to sunset on December 31:

* The Records Provision
* The Roving Wiretaps Provision
* The Lone Wolf Provision

The evidence indicates that these provisions don't even serve their supposed purpose:

* As Cato Research Fellow Julian Sanchez says, "the successful investigations since 9/11 -- only a few of which actually involved 'plots' for attacks in the U.S. -- appear to have depended a lot more on good human intelligence and informants in the community than broad new surveillance powers."

* And The OC Register observes that "the evidence that any of these provisions has prevented or deterred a terrorist act is somewhere between slim and none" and that if they had been successfully used, "government officials would have trumpeted the news."

These provisions appear to do little except allow the government to spy on innocent people and collect private data.

Please let these provisions expire. Vote against renewal. But if you insist on passing a renewal bill, favor the House bill, H.R. 3845, as opposed to the Senate's S. 1692. The House bill . . .

* Increases the government's burden of proof for the Records and Roving Wiretaps powers
* Eliminates the Lone Wolf Provision
* Reigns in the FBI's non-expiring but often-abused National Security Letters powers

H.R. 3845 will restore some of the civil liberties we lost when the Patriot Act was passed. But remember, I prefer that you do not renew these provisions. We will be no less safe, but we will be more free.


Please send your message using our Educate the Powerful System.

And spread this message to your friends:

James Wilson
Assistant Communications Director, Inc.

Source: Elizabeth Gorman, "Authority to Spy on Americans Unclear as Patriot Act Expires"


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