In a letter to Congress on Wednesday, some of the nation's top 25 most powerful lobbyists complained that the Patriot Act too easily facilitates the
government obtaining confidential business records as well as other problems. Signateurs included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National
Association of Manufacturers and the National Association of Realtors, among others. In the first organized criticism effort from the business sector,
the groups endorsed ammendments restricting several powers of federal agents affecting both the Senate's and House's version of the bill.
Michael J. Sniffen, Associated Press Writer
Their views could make a difference as Congress heads toward a vote on whether to extend some controversial provisions of the act that expire at the
end of the year.
"Confidential files -- records about our customers or our employees, as well as our trade secrets and other proprietary information -- can too easily
be obtained and disseminated under investigative powers expanded by the Patriot Act," six business groups wrote in a letter to Senate Judiciary
Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa. "These new powers lack sufficient checks and balances."
The restrictions sought by the business groups also have been advocated by a coalition of civil liberties groups and conservative political
organizations. The chairman of one such coalition, former Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., of Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances, commended the signers:
"Business leaders recognize that the private records and sensitive proprietary information of all businesses -- from doctor's offices to Realtors to
manufacturers to car dealerships -- are at risk under the current Patriot Act."
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
Well, it's about time! Horray. Finally some key lobbyists are taking action on this controversial bill, and I don't know about you, but this makes
me very happy.
Of particular note to me in the article:
Specifically, the groups endorsed a Senate provision that would require federal agents to provide to a court that sits in secret to issue
Patriot Act warrants a statement of facts showing "some linkage between the records sought and an individual suspected of being a terrorist or
That secret judiciary is something that has always bothered me. I just really really do not like the idea of that secrecy, and the potential for abuse
that it brings.
Finally, they endorsed Senate amendments that would provide the first "meaningful right to challenge the (Patriot Act court) order when the
order is unreasonable, oppressive or seeks privileged information" and the right to challenge the existing permanent gag order covering document
demands made under the act.
This is another key issue with the bill that has had many people very concerned about the tremendous power and impunity it gives federal agencies. At
least with this proposed ammendment, more reasonable checks and balances would be put into place.
The power and influence of these groups should not be inderestimated. They may make a real difference, and provide a solution we can all live with- IF
they go through. My fingers are crossed. Bigtime.
Related News Links:
Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
WAR: Federal Judge Rules Some Portions of U.S. Patriot Act Unconstitutional
OP/ED: Voice Your Opinon to Congress Quickly and Easily on Patriot Act II!
OP/ED: Analyzing the Security Gained by the PATRIOT Act
Want to know whats in the Patriot Act 2?
[edit on 10/12/05 by FredT]