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Tag: Patriot act

U.S. Government Loses Terrorism Fighting Tools As Patriot Act Provisions Expire

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The U.S. government has fewer tools to fight terrorism after key provisions of the Patriot Act expired late Sunday despite a last-minute push by some Senators.

CNN reports that the expiration ends the NSA’s controversial bulk data collection program. The NSA had been collecting phone metadata on millions of Americans.

Law enforcement also won’t be able to get roving wiretaps to track suspects who frequently change phones. Now they will have to get individual warrants – a timely, burdensome task that could mean some suspects slip away, law enforcement officials said.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch warned last week that the U.S. would face a “serious lapse” in national security without these tools.

The Senate is expected to debate restoring some of the expired authorities later this week.

FBI Worries about Losing Surveillance Tools Under Expiring Patriot Act

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators are worried they are about to lose surveillance tools that have been valuable in the fight against terrorism.

The Associated Press reports that the surveillance is part of the controversial Patriot Act that offered more investigative tools.

But those tools are at risk because they are set to expire with the Patriot Act on June 1.

Some senators are working on a last-minute agreement that would extend the deadline.

FBI Director James Comey said the surveillance capabilities are important to protect Americans and fight terrorism.

“I sure hope Congress figures out a way to make sure I don’t lose these essential tools,” he said during a visit Tuesday to the New Haven field office.

Column: The Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI Urges Congress to Reauthorize USA Patriot Act

Ellen Glasser

Ellen Glasser
President of The Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI

Today, the Society of Former Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is urging Senate leaders to pass legislation that will reauthorize the expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism) Act.

Representing 8500 current and former FBI Agents, the Society is an apolitical, professional membership organization with no agenda, other than to support efforts to keep our nation and citizens safe. Based on our experience, we know the necessity of the provisions that are set to expire. They have never been more necessary than they are in today’s threat climate.

Passed in 2001 after the attacks of 9/11, the Patriot Act provided law enforcement with critical tools in the fight against terrorism. The provisions set to expire govern how the FBI lawfully collects data, how we track “lone wolf” attackers, and how we obtain surveillance orders. The threats against America have grown even stronger and more brutal since 2001. Al-Qaeda, ISIL, AQAP, Al-Shabaab, and other groups and individuals like them, all seek to do deadly harm to us. The numbers have grown, their skills have increased, and their resolve is unwavering and absolute.

The terrorist threats that we face today, and particularly within our own borders, should alarm every citizen in America. FBI Director James Comey has addressed the use of social media to recruit increasing numbers of people to ISIL within the United States. Recently, ISIL claimed responsibility for an attack in Texas. A report now claims that ISIL has placed “soldiers” in fifteen states. This is surely not the time to let down America’s guard.

The FBI is committed to the rule of law and to the rights of our citizens to privacy. However, let us be clear. Unless we can successfully address imminent threats to safety, the American way of life cannot be preserved. Without the necessary tools and without trust in the FBI, our nation will be weaker and our citizens will be less safe. We believe that the FBI’s lawful efforts, along with vigilant oversight, strike the proper balance between security and privacy.

As its acronym suggests, the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act are essential to Protecting America. We ask members of Congress to do their part by supporting the reauthorization.

 

 

FBI, NSA Officials Urge Congress to Retain Spy Powers Under Patriot Act

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and National Security Administration are on the verge of losing surveillance powers that were gained after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Authorities for both agencies are urging lawmakers to preserve the spy powers before the expire June 1, The Guardian reports. 

Some members of Congress want more surveillance reforms to protect the privacy of innocent Americans.

Losing the authority gained in Section 215 of the Patriot Act will make it difficult to conduct some federal investigations, authorities warned.

Whether Congress renews the powers may depend on the newest members of Congress.

“A lot of it is going to hinge on the freshmen. Right now, as far as I can tell, the select intelligence committee is making a real strong play to persuade the freshmen that all of these public concerns are overblown,” Rep. Thomas Massie, a Kentucky Republican, said.

 

 

FBI May Lose Critical Surveillance Abilities Because of NSA Controversy

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s ability to covertly collect “books, papers, documents, and other items” with a court order is at risk.

The Washington Times reports that the Section 215 of the Patriot Act is set to expire in June, and it’s unclear whether lawmakers will “renew it, reform it or let it expire.”

Although the surveillance has helped the FBI track down suspects, Section 215 has become highly controversial because it gave the NSA legal authority to collect phone records on American citizens.

Some lawmakers said it’s critical to allow the FBI to collect the records.

“Law enforcement officials often use Section 215 to obtain necessary individual business records, such as hotel records, in connection with national security investigations,” Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican and chairman of the SenateJudiciary Committee, said in a statement to The Washington Times. “It’s a useful tool that helps them investigate potential threats to national security.”

The FBI declined to comment.

 

Human Rights Groups to Meet With Snowden at Moscow Airport Where He Will Break His Silence

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

NSA leaker Edward J. Snowden plans to break his silence after spending nearly three weeks in legal limbo at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, The New York Times reports.

Airport officials said Snowden plans to meet with international human rights groups Friday.

The rights workers will be escorted through security and into the transit zone to meet with Snowden, The Times reported.

Snowden reportedly sent an email to several rights organizations asking them to come to the airport.

Snowden revealed widespread phone and email surveillance by the U.S. government.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

ACLU lists 10 Most ‘Disturbing’ Things About FBI Since 9/11

By Matthew Harwood
ACLU Media Relations Associate

Next Tuesday, James Comey will have his first job interview for succeeding Robert Mueller as director of the FBI.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee will not only have the chance to determine whether Comey is qualified for the job—and we have our concerns—but an opportunity to examine what the FBI has become since 9/11 and whether it needs to change course over the next decade.

Over the past 12 years, the FBI has become a domestic intelligence agency with unprecedented power to peer into the lives of ordinary Americans and secretly amass data about people not suspected of any wrongdoing. The recent revelation about the FBI using the Patriot Act’s “business records provision” to track all U.S. telephone calls is only the latest in a long line of abuse stemming from the expanded powers granted to the bureau since September 2001.

To read more click here.

Court to decide FBI’s Power over Phone Records

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Can the FBI force a phone company to turn over its customer records for an investigation?

The question is at the center of a rare civil complaint filed by the U.S. Department of Justice, which claims the phone company was interfering with national security, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The case, which is shrouded in secrecy, is expected to answer important questions about the USA Patriot Act.

“This is the most important national-security-letter case” in years, Stephen Vladeck, a professor and expert on terrorism law at the American University Washington College of Law, told the Wall Street Journal. “It raises a question Congress has been trying to answer: How do you protect the First Amendment rights of an NSL (national security letter) recipient at the same time as you protect the government’s interest in secrecy?”