[NetBehaviour] Senate panel votes to expand Patriot Act

marc marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Thu Jun 9 14:12:15 CEST 2005

*Senate panel votes to expand Patriot Act*

Forget scaling back the Patriot Act.

Instead, the controversial post-9/11 law would be expanded to give the 
FBI new powers to demand documents from companies without a judge's 
approval, according to a vote late Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence 

The final text of the Senate Intelligence committee's amendments was not 
immediately available (here's a draft dated last month), and reporters 
were barred from the secret session during which the vote was held.

But the proposal appears to grant the FBI more power to seek information 
from banks, hospitals, libraries, and so on through "administrative 
subpoenas" without prior judicial oversight. The subpoenas are only 
supposed to be used for terrorism or clandestine intelligence cases.

One other detail: the FBI may designate that the subpoenas are secret 
and punish disclosure of their existence with up to one year in prison 
(and five years if the disclosure is deemed to "obstruct an investigation.")

In testimony in April, FBI director Robert Mueller said: "The 
administrative subpoena power would be a valuable complement to 
(existing) tools and provide added efficiency to the FBI's ability to 
investigate and disrupt terrorism operations and our intelligence 
gathering efforts."



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