posted on May, 18 2005 @ 07:59 PM
By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee is working on a bill that would renew the Patriot Act and expand government powers in
the name of fighting terrorism, letting the FBI subpoena records without permission from a judge or grand jury.
Much of the debate in Congress has concerned possibly limiting some of the powers in the anti-terrorism law passed 45 days after the attacks of Sept.
But the measure being written by Sen. Pat Roberts (news, bio, voting record), R-Kan., would give the FBI new power to issue administrative subpoenas,
which are not reviewed by a judge or grand jury, for quickly obtaining records, electronic data or other evidence in terrorism investigations,
according to aides for the GOP majority on the committee who briefed reporters Wednesday.
Recipients could challenge the subpoenas in court and the Bush administration would have to report to Congress twice a year exactly how it was using
this investigatory power, the aides said.
The administration has sought this power for two years, but so far been rebuffed by lawmakers. It is far from certain that Congress will give the
administration everything it wants this year.
Roberts' planned bill also would make it easier for prosecutors to use special court-approved warrants for secret wiretaps and searches of suspected
terrorists and spies in criminal cases, the committee aides said.
Eight expiring sections of the law that deal with foreign intelligence investigations would become permanent, they said.
So, too, would a provision that authorizes wiretapping of suspected terrorists who operate without clear ties to a particular terrorist network.