Patriot Act extension fails

Posted by Shazy on Wednesday, February 16, 2011

While U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., said he supports the Patriot Act, he said on Wednesday there is a “very delicate balance between pursuing sufficiently national security and personal security and too much government.” The House on Tuesday voted down an extension of surveillance provisions to the Patriot Act, 277-148. The measure has been backed by most Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith, R-Neb., but was seven votes short of passing by a two-thirds majority. Twenty-six Republicans voted against the bill.

The legislation would have extended provisions set to expire on Feb. 8, including roving wiretaps, access to FBI records and surveillance of “lone wolf” terror suspects. The Patriot Act is post-9/11 legislation passed by Congress because of concerns about terrorist attacks on the United States. Nelson said it is important to continue to have the safeguards provided by the Patriot Act, but the sticking point has always been how far the Patriot Act should intrude into people’s privacy.

“There are different flash points for different people on what is intrusive and what isn’t,” he said.

For example, Nelson said the government’s decision to have body-scan imaging machines at U.S. airports or in federal buildings may not trouble some people, but many people have expressed outrage about that procedure, especially when learning that some of those images have been illegally distributed.

Source : Theindependent.