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Business groups: Change Patriot Act

Discussion in 'Political Debate & Discussion' started by poncho, Oct 8, 2005.

  1. poncho

    poncho Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Cutting back: Some of the country's most powerful lobbyists ask Congress to limit the law

    By Michael J. Sniffen
    The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON - Some of the nation's most powerful business groups are splitting with the Bush administration over whether to restrict the anti-terror USA Patriot Act.

    The business groups complained to Congress on Wednesday that the Patriot Act makes it too easy for the government to get confidential business records. That put them at odds with one of President Bush's top priorities - the unfettered extension of the law passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    In the first organized criticism of the act from the business sector, these groups endorsed amendments that would require investigators to say how the information they seek is linked to individual suspected terrorists or spies, and would allow businesses to challenge the requests in courts and to speak publicly about those requests.

    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.''

    Some of the most powerful lobbying groups in town signed the letter. It endorsed amendments to restrict the record-gathering powers of federal agents, including some changes already in the Senate's - but not the House's - version of the Patriot Act extension bill and one change that is in neither bill.