Patriot Sunsets Extension Act of 2011

Statement

By:  Tom Marino
Date: May 26, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MARINO. Mr. Speaker, it's incredulous what I am hearing here today from my friends on the other side of the aisle. I was a U.S. Attorney and used the PATRIOT Act. I debated it, I lectured it, and I put a terrorist away by using the PATRIOT Act.

I was also a district attorney, and it was easier for me to get a warrant for documents as a district attorney than it was for me to get documents pursuant to the PATRIOT Act.

I just could not sign a document and go get papers and have a wiretap. I had to go through a FISA judge. It had to go through my first assistant, myself, the Justice Department, a judge, and then back to the office for a signature.

There are absolutely no circumstances where I could get information from a citizen who we believed to be a terrorist or to be involved in terrorism by not getting a warrant.

An example is the roving wiretap. The roving wiretap was designed for one specific reason. Wiretaps, when the wiretap law went into effect, were based on a phone being on a wall in a particular location. Over the years, because of cell phones, terrorists, criminals, and drug dealers were buying--
and are still buying--cell phones in the 5, 10, and 20 batches, using them for several minutes, dropping them, continuing the same crime, and just switching to a new cell phone. The law allowed us not to have to go after a new warrant for each cell phone. That was logical because the phone was not attached to a wall in a particular location; they were roving. It has done its job not only in drug work but terrorism work as well.

The same thing for documents and information from business records and bank records. In some instances, as a district attorney, I didn't even need a warrant. All I had to do was subpoena those documents. That is not possible under the Federal system. We have to go through a FISA court to get those warrants. I've done that for 6 years as a U.S. attorney and for 12 years as a district attorney. What we are hearing from the other side is absolutely not true about warrantless searches.

Earlier today, the Senate approved Senate 990 by a vote of 72-23, with overwhelming bipartisan support. It is time for the House to do the same thing. Time is of the essence. We have until midnight tonight to help keep America safe because the terrorists are out there continually working. They aren't taking breaks.

These are commonsense provisions that have worked effectively for 10 years to prevent terrorists attacks, protect the American people, and preserve civil liberties. They need to be extended for another 4 years.

The terrorist threat we face as a Nation has not expired. Neither should these important provisions that have helped keep us safe from terrorist attacks.

I urge my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on this critical national security bill.

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