(Host) Congressman Bernie Sanders has introduced legislation that repeals several sections of the USA Patriot Act. The original law was passed in the weeks after the terrorist attacks of September 11th to give law enforcement agencies additional tools to monitor and apprehend people who are suspected of plotting acts of terrorism.
Sanders’ bill removes a section from the law that allows the federal government to access an individual’s library or bookstore records without having to demonstrate probable cause for taking this action:
(Sanders) “We’re seeing a whole lot of attacks on First Amendment rights, I think, on privacy issues that have to do with just an expanding technology. I believe very strongly, as I think everybody in America does, that we have to do everything we can to protect our people against another terrorist attack. That’s hugely important. But I happen to believe that we can do that without undermining the Constitutional of the American people.”
(Host) Sanders says this issue is one the times when he’s been able to build an effective coalition of some of the most liberal and most conservative members of the House:
(Sanders) “I am joined and will be working with some very, very, very conservative folks who, as conservatives, share the view that government should not be monitoring our reading habits.”
(Host) Sanders introduced a similar proposal last year. It appeared that the measure had passed the House on a close roll call vote, but it went down to defeat after Republican leaders held the vote open for an additional 20 minutes. During that time, they were able to convince nine G-O-P members to change their position.