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    Friday, December 16, 2005

    Patriot Act Provisions Shot Down

    Stardate 5019.1

    In a major blow to the White House and the Republican leaders, the US Senate rejected attempts to reauthorize several provisions of the Patriot Act. Bush and Alberto Gonzales campaigned to make certain provisions of the Act permanent and to add new safeguards and expiration dates to two very controversial parts of the Act... roving wiretaps and secret warrants for books, records and other items from businesses, hospitals and libraries. The Senate said they would consider extending the Act in it's current form, but Bush and Frist refuse to accept this. The current provisions in the Act expire on December 31st.

    This highly controversial Act pits security in the "War on Terror" against civil liberties of everyday American citizens. Recent developments show that Bush allowed the NSA to spy on American citizens without warrants. They monitor international phone calls and e-mails of hundreds if not thousands of citizens. The Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Arlen Specter announced hearings looking into this matter.

    And people had doubts about the erosion of freedoms in the US and the impact of the Patriot Act on civil liberties?

    *** UPDATE ***

    It's just a bad day for Bush... This DailyKOS diary goes into some detail about how one day after Bush says that Congress saw the same Pre-War Intelligence as he did when they all voted it turns out that in fact, they don't get to see ALL of the intel he does...

    "Some of the most irresponsible comments - about manipulating intelligence - have come from politicians who saw the same intelligence I saw and then voted to authorize the use of force against Saddam Hussein, These charges are pure politics." - Bush yesterday
    And one day later, this comes up from Knight Ridder...

    WASHINGTON - President Bush and top administration officials have access to a much broader range of intelligence reports than members of Congress do, a nonpartisan congressional research agency said in a report Thursday, raising questions about recent assertions by the president. ...

    The Congressional Research Service, by contrast, said: "The president, and a small number of presidentially designated Cabinet-level officials, including the vice president ... have access to a far greater overall volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information, including information regarding intelligence sources and methods." ...

    The CRS report identified nine key U.S. intelligence "products" that aren't generally shared with Congress. These include the President's Daily Brief, a compilation of analyses that's given only to the president and a handful of top aides, and a daily digest on terrorism-related matters.
    So if Bush and his top advisors get "extra" intel...

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