The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday approved legislation to extend provisions of the USA Patriot Act that are set to expire May 27.
The panel sent to the full Senate legislation to renew the “lone wolf” provision, which allows investigations of suspected terrorists not tied to a specific nation or organization. The bill also would extend the provision allowing “roving wiretaps,” as well as one that eases the way for federal officials to obtain tangible evidence as part of an investigation. That provision is known as the “library records” provision.
Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) urged senators to resist the urge to amend the bill on the floor to include proposals not dealing with the expiring provisions.”Extraneous amendments unrelated to the surveillance provisions may help some score political points, or grab a headline of a story, but they do little to strengthen and improve the authorizations at the heart of the legislation,” Leahy said, in a statement.
Committee approval of the bill comes a little more than a month after liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans defeated legislation in the House that would have extended the provisions. Justice Department officials told a House panel hearing Wednesday that extending the provisions is vital to national security.