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Senator Murkowski Co-sponsors Bill To Amend Patriot Act


April 08, 2005

Washington, D.C.- Saying that the Patriot Act is in need of correction to ensure protection of American rights and freedoms, Senator Lisa Murkowski on Thursday co-sponsored legislation to amend the act.

In co-sponsoring the Security and Freedom Enhancement Act of 2005 (SAFE Act), Murkowski said that the bipartisan bill would revise several portions of the USA Patriot Act to further protect the constitutional rights of Americans while preserving the expanded powers law enforcement agencies need to fight terrorism.

"While we certainly recognize the need for our law enforcement community to have the necessary tools to defeat terrorism, we can not offer security at the expense of the Constitutional freedoms that are at the heart of America," Senator Murkowski said. "Similar to the legislation I introduced last Congress, the SAFE act will appropriately tailor the Patriot Act to protect personal freedoms while still granting the necessary tools to the law enforcement communities."

Provisions of the SAFE Act follow:

  • The SAFE Act would retain the Patriot Act's authorization for roving wiretaps but would eliminate "John Doe" taps where the person being tapped or the phone being tapped is not identified before authorization to begin the tap is granted. · The SAFE Act would retain the Patriot Act's authorization of delayed notification of searches or "sneak and peek" searches when compelling reasons to delay are satisfied. However, it would eliminate the catch-all provision that allows sneak and peek searches in any circumstances seriously jeopardizing an investigation or delaying a trial. The SAFE Act would require notification of a covert search within seven days, instead of the undefined delay that is currently permitted by the Patriot Act.
  • The Safe Act would restore a standard of individualized suspicion before a Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) order for library or other personal records can be obtained and would create procedural protections to prevent abuses. As is required for grand jury subpoenas, the SAFE act would give the recipient of a FISA order the right to challenge the order, require a government showing that a gag order is necessary, place a limit on the gag order and give the recipient the right to challenge the gag order.
  • The SAFE Act would also require increased public reporting on the use of FISA orders.
  • Similar to the rights and procedures for FISA orders, the SAFE Act would set guidelines for the use of National Security Letter to obtain personal records. The government would have to show reason that the records sought relate to a suspected terrorist or spy.
  • The SAFE Act would limit the qualifying offenses for domestic terrorism to those that constitute a federal crime of terrorism, instead of any federal or state crime, as is currently the case. The overbroad definition of domestic terrorism in the Patriot Act could include acts of civil disobedience - acts which are illegal but not necessarily terrorist acts.


Source of News:

Office of Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Web Site



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