The government contended, even filing a legal brief on behalf of the PKK in an American court would be a crime. Here is an exchange in 2007 between Judge Sidney Thomas and Justice Department lawyer Douglas Letter:
"If they file, for example, an amicus brief here, that would be a criminal act?"
"Yes, because Congress wants these organizations to be radioactive."
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that as applied in this case, the law is unconstitutional.
Shouldn't that read "Today, CONGRESS, a body that is comprised of over five hundred contentious members, has quietly extended the bill for another year"?
Yes, yes, I know, Obama could have vetoed it -- but do you really think that if he had, that some blowhards in Congress wouldn't have raised shit if he did that
While this is clearly disappointing, and not what a many (most?) Obama supporters wanted, I have to agree with EmpressCallipygos that tactically, he has no choice at this point.
For whatever reason, Obama decided that his administration was going to live or die based on health care reform, and if he does something to screw it up now, he'll never accomplish anything.
As one who has found that the USA PATRIOT Act needs a great deal of improvement and that there have been many excesses and sometimes abuses of these broad powers over the years, I have found that too little consideration of the impact of this type of surveillance on our civil liberties has been looked into. And that's why the Judiciary Committee has undergone an extensive process over the past year and reported out a bill that attempts to reform these provisions and enhance congressional oversight. In the other body, the Judiciary Committee has also passed out a bill that improves, in my view, the PATRIOT Act. So we're very close to real reform.
The House bill has new protections for library and bookseller records. It clarifies the reach of roving authority to prevent ``John Doe'' blanket wiretaps. It tightens the standards for national security letters that have been abused in the past. It has extensive new reporting oversight and sunset provisions to greatly strengthen congressional oversight and makes other changes to the related provisions of law.
Please understand, Members, that this extension is not the final word on the PATRIOT Act, and what we will do is use the time between now and the year that will elapse to improve and pass real reform.
Now, while I would prefer to do this now, it is not to me strategically wise nor logistically possible to accomplish this at this time. And with the provisions expiring in a matter of 3 days, the other body has sent us this extension bill, so there is no reasonable possibility that they could pass a broader measure such as a Judiciary-passed bill at this time.
In other words, we have no other choice but to go along with this extension because there isn't sufficient time. Well, tomorrow is the last day of the week. It's physically impossible. So under these circumstances, it seems to me the best course is to merely maintain the status quo and work with the other body and the administration towards some improvements that I have in mind. I can announce we've made progress towards reaching common ground, and I believe an orderly path forward between now and during the next year will lead us to a much better result.
Now, although this extension doesn't reform underlying law, we recognize there's some value in a process that brings us quickly to another sunset date. Experience has taught that there's nothing like an approaching sunset to bring both the executive branch and the other body to the table with the will to see this resolved. So while I'd rather pass the Judiciary Committee bill out and truly make the reforms that I think are necessary, because of the time constraints that we find, I recommend that we take the next year and continue the process.
I urge your careful consideration of this very important measure.
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