Susan Crabtree reports:
The Obama administration is standing firm in its support of several George W. Bush-era Patriot Act powers in the face of sharp criticism from civil rights groups, liberal Democrats and a Dec. 31 deadline to extend key provisions of the bill.
The Justice Department recently reiterated its request for Congress to extend with few changes key provisions of the Patriot Act: sections that allow roving wiretaps on multiple phones, seizing of business records and a never-used authority to spy on non-Americans suspected of being terrorists even though they have no connection to a recognized terrorist group.
Earlier this week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a Judiciary Committee member, railed about the lack of responsiveness in the answers it received from [Attorney General Eric] Holder following his June 17 testimony.
“Instead of answering 24 questions, the Department responded with a five-paragraph recitation of publicly available facts and information,” Grassley said.
“This is a prime example of what is wrong with the inadequate response to all of our questions; they avoid the questions and filibuster with public facts.” Grassley also threatened to start holding up judicial nominees if Justice is not more forthcoming.
“This administration rode into town on a campaign of accountability and transparency,” he continued. “Attorney General Holder told all of us that he respected congressional oversight. Yet, in his first set of oversight questions submitted by the committee, he gave us the same non-response responses we’ve seen from the Department.”
Read more on The Hill.
Personally, I’m still waiting to see evidence that these measures actually saved lives or kept us all safer. With all the repeated yapping about how we need to cede greater powers to our government, wasn’t it British intelligence — not ours — that was responsible for the recent foiling of a terrorist plot?
Photo credit: President Barack Obama addresses the AFL-CIO, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)