The House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are considering three key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act that are set to expire or “sunset” on December 31, 2009. These provisions created three new powers for investigating suspected terrorists: roving wiretaps, “lone wolf” measures, and orders to seize any “tangible thing” pertaining to a person connected to a suspect in a terror investigation. The “tangible thing” provision (Section 215 of the original USA PATRIOT Act) is also known as the “library provision” because of the possibility that it could be used to subpoena information from a library about what someone is reading, either in books or at Internet terminals provided by the library. This provision has been at the heart of some library organizations’ criticisms of the Patriot Act.
Two bills have been introduced in the Senate that focus on the three provisions that sunset and one bill also addresses a host of other surveillance-related issues.
Library Associations Statement to House Members
Library Associations Statement on USA PATRIOT Act Amendments of 2009
USA PATRIOT Act Fact Sheet
Press Release: Leahy, Cardin, Kaufman Introduce Benchmark Legislation
To Reauthorize Expiring PATRIOT Act Provisions (Sept. 22, '09)
Electronic Frontier Foundation Discussion on USA PATRIOT Act Reauthorization (Sept. 17, '09)