SENATOR SALAZAR PUSHES CIVIL LIBERTIES ADDITIONS FOR PATRIOT ACT
Legislation Provides Key Reforms to Protect Rights of Innocent Americans While Preserving Important Necessary Powers in USA PATRIOT Act
Contact: Cody Wertz/ 202-224-5852
04/05/2005- WASHINGTON, DC - United States Senator Ken Salazar today helped unveil new bipartisan legislation designed to increase civil liberties in the USA PATRIOT Act. Senator Salazar is an original co-sponsor of the bi-partisan Security and Freedom Enhancement (SAFE) Act of 2005 sponsored by Senators Larry Craig (R-ID) and Richard Durbin (D-IL). The SAFE Act is a narrowly tailored bill that would retain all of the expanded authorities created by the PATRIOT Act but place important checks and balances on those authorities. Senator Salazar said, "The USA PATRIOT Act is an important and useful tool for law enforcement. These narrow and specific reforms will protect the rights and freedoms of innocent Americans while preserving needed powers to help fight the war on terror." The SAFE Act would protect innocent Americans from unnecessary government surveillance and increase Congressional and judicial oversight of certain law enforcement activities by: Eliminating "John Doe" roving wiretaps which do not specify the person or the phone to be wiretapped; Placing reasonable restraints on so-called "sneak-and-peek" searches, which allow authorities to conduct covert searches without any notification, Restore a standard of individualized suspicion and create procedural protections to prevent abuses of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) searches by the federal government; as well as the use of National Security Letters, which allow federal law enforcement to circumvent legal requirements for access to personal documents; Require accountability of nationwide search warrants, pen/traps on electronic communications and FISA wiretaps (which, in 2003, the most recent year for which statistics are available, exceeded the number of criminal wiretaps for the first time since FISA became law); Limit the qualifying offenses for domestic terrorism to those covered by the federal crime of terrorism, rather than any federal or state crime as is currently the case under the PATRIOT ACT. The SAFE Act legislation is supported by the League of Women Voters, Gun Owners of America, American Civil Liberties Union, American Conservative Union and others.