Davis supports reauthorization of Patriot Act provisions
On Tuesday, Congress voted on an emergency bill to reauthorize three provisions of the controversial USA PATRIOT Act that are set to expire on Feb. 28. The bill failed by seven votes to achieve the necessary super-majority vote as Republicans tied to the Tea Party movement joined progressive Democrats in opposing the bill.
San Diego’s three Republicans—Reps. Duncan Hunter, Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray—each voted for the bill. That was about as predictable as proud lefty Rep. Bob Filner’s vote against it. But San Diego’s other Democrat, Rep. Susan Davis, joined the Republican leadership in voting to extend the PATRIOT Act, and, according to a statement provided to CityBeat, she will likely vote for it again on Thursday, when it will again come to the floor. This time it will probably pass, since it will only require a majority vote.
Here’s Davis’ brief statement:
“I have faith that President Obama will responsibly use the tools contained in the legislation needed to help prevent terrorist attacks, and not to spy on average Americans. The law also requires a significant level of court and congressional oversight.”
The bill would extend the provisions of the PATRIOT Act through Dec. 8, 2011. Here’s Wired’s explanation of the three items:
- The “roving wiretap” provision allows the FBI to obtain wiretaps from a secret intelligence court, known as the FISA court, without identifying what method of communication is to be tapped.
- The “lone wolf” measure allows FISA court warrants for the electronic monitoring of a person for whatever reason — even without showing that the suspect is an agent of a foreign power or a terrorist. The government has said it has never invoked that provision, but the Obama administration said it wanted to retain the authority to do so.
- The “business records” provision allows FISA court warrants for any type of record, from banking to library to medical, without the government having to declare that the information sought is connected to a terrorism or espionage investigation.
We’re waiting on a statement from Filner’s office, but he states his position rather blatantly on his Congressional website (emphasis is his):
Bob believes that the USA PATRIOT Act was an overly hasty response to the events of September 11, 2001 and dangerously infringes on the civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution–it does not make us safer. He was one of the few who voted against the USA PATRIOT Act when it was first introduced, and he voted against its reauthorization in 2005. Bob feels that the USA PATRIOT Act should be repealed!