The USA PATRIOT Act
In May 2011, Congress voted to extend the following sections of the USA PATRIOT Act through 2015:
- The government’s power under PATRIOT Section 215 to obtain secret court orders for "any tangible thing"—including Internet, phone, and business records—that the government believes is relevant to a terrorism investigation. Current legislation before Congress would reauthorize this power for six years.
- The government’s power to use non-specific "roving" wiretaps to monitor any phone number, email account, or other communications facility that the government believes is being used by its target. Current legislation before Congress would reauthorize this power for six years.
- The "lone wolf" wiretapping power, which allows the government it to monitor individuals who have no connection to any foreign power or terrorist group. Current legislation before Congress would reauthorize this power permanently.
Americans from all walks of life—and both major political parties—oppose the dramatic expansion of executive powers authorized by the PATRIOT Act. Members of Congress should heed those concerns by co-sponsoring the JUSTICE Act, which would fix a range of abuses that are happening because of the PATRIOT Act.
To learn more about why these powers are so dangerous, see our PATRIOT Act talking points.
Read and share our blog post about the extension: "Four more years of the PATRIOT Act will worsen government secrecy."
There are several ways you can get involved to help advance JUSTICE and fix abuses under the PATRIOT Act:
- Meet with your elected officials and insist that they stand up for meaningful checks and balances on runaway executive power to restore constitutional rights. Meeting with your members of Congress is even easier during recesses, when they return to their districts.
- Call your members of Congress at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to oppose any PATRIOT Act reauthorization that does not include the civil liberties protections outlined in the JUSTICE Act.
- Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 and demand that President Obama veto any bill reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act unless it includes strong new protections for privacy and civil liberties.
- Organize to protect rights by joining with allies in your community to support local legislative changes that would stop local police abuses, including domestic surveillance.
- Make a tax-deductible donation to support BORDC's work defending civil liberties in Washington and across the country.