Hopefully this is a little premature - but I wouldn't count on it:
"Senate Republicans, White House strike deal
Thursday, February 9, 2006; Posted: 7:59 p.m. EST (00:59 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A band of Senate Republican holdouts reached agreement Thursday with the White House on changes in the Patriot Act designed to clear the way for passage of anti-terror legislation stalled in a dispute over civil liberties."
What bothers me - a lot - about this is that I fear that all concerned are rushing to pass this without realizing that the 'patriot' act is the keystone of everything else the government is doing or intends to do.
If they do not force the Administration at this point in time to re-do the 'patriot' act correctly (by building in better oversight, forcing strict accountability, eliminating the growth of additional powers to the 'patriot' act such as the criminal penalties/ contempt-of-court/felony five-year sentences/$5,000 fines for NSL non-compliance or exposure)because they're all enthused about the NSA stuff and the headlines that is making (and while they actually have the window of opportunity and public support to make that happen) - then it's my firm opinion that ultimately, we will have lost.
Go to http://www.theorator.com/senate.html and call or FAX as many of your Representatives as you can. This is the message I just faxed:
"Do NOT compromise on the 'patriot' act re-authorization
I would urgently remind you that at this point in time, you have the best chance you will ever have to make meaningful changes for the better to the 'patriot' act.
Accepting anything other than the previously agreed-to SENATE version of the 'patriot' act re-authorization bill, will do both your country and your constituents a serious dis-service.
The 'patriot' act does NOT need to be enhanced in any way by the addition of new 'powers' - there should by no means be any "civil/criminal" penalties added that would apply to non-compliance with or disclosure of an N.S.L (SEC. 118. VIOLATIONS OF NONDISCLOSURE PROVISIONS OF NATIONAL SECURITY LETTERS.
Section 1510 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
'(e) Whoever knowingly violates section 2709©(I) of this title, sections 625(d) or 626© of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 D.S.C. 1681u(d) or 1681v©, section
I 114(a)(3) or 1114(a)(5)(D) of the Right to Financial Privacy Act (12 D.S.C. 3414(a)(3) or 3414(a)(5)(d), or section 802( of the National Security Act of 1947 (50 D.S.C. 436( shall be imprisoned for not more than one year, and if the violation is committed with the intent to obstruct an investigation or judicial proceeding, shall be imprisoned for not more than five years.'.
Sections 116, 117 and 118 quite frankly suck insofar as they would totally chill appeals to N.S.L's and effectively cover up any possible ABUSES of N.S.L.'s - WE DO NOT NEED THIS!
Furthermore, including anti-drug legislation in the re-authorization simply sets precedent for replacing both our national and individual STATES Constitutions' with the 'patriot' act - AND THE ANTI-METH LAW SHOULD BE STRICKEN PERIOD.
PLEASE do NOT blow this final opportunity to get the 'patriot' act right! The 'patriot' act is the keystone for all else that the government is doing or plans to do - and only you can keep it from being wrong again! Thank you."