Senators Diverge Over How to Extend Patriot Act Surveillance

Friday, 04 Feb 2011 04:34 PM

By Dan Weil

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The Senate is split three different ways over how to continue surveillance and information-gathering activities under the USA Patriot Act. Two Democrats and one Republican have offered bills about the issue, The Hill reports.

Patriot act, extend, Feinstein, LeahyThe bills differ on how long to extend the authority and how much oversight to include. The Senate must choose an alternative before the powers expire Feb. 28.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., introduced a bill to continue surveillance powers until the end of 2013 and provide for increased oversight of U.S. intelligence gathering tools.

Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has offered a bill that would extend the surveillance powers until 2013, but without the additional oversight language proposed by Leahy.

And finally, new Judiciary ranking member Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced a bill Friday that permanently extends the powers.

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