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    Washington Post: Partial Patriot Act Extension Is Approved by Senate Panel

    The Washington Post has an update on Patriot Act debates in Congress:

    By a vote of 11 to 8, the [Senate Judiciary] committee sent to the Senate floor a measure that would extend until 2013 three surveillance provisions set to expire Dec. 31. They would allow investigators to use roving wiretaps to monitor suspects who may switch cellphone numbers, to obtain business records of national security targets, and to track “lone wolves” who may be acting alone on behalf of foreign powers or terrorist groups. […]

    Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) won approval for a package of amendments, intended to meet the concerns of intelligence officials and the administration, that would limit the scope of newly crafted privacy protections for library records, preserve the government’s ability to maintain secrecy concerning NSLs in sensitive investigations, and keep current law in place by not imposing unprecedented minimization requirements on information.

    Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) said the bill “is heading in the wrong direction.” He won an amendment to require the FBI to minimize information it gets through NSLs. […]

    Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) tried unsuccessfully to require that before issuing an NSL, the FBI must show that the records sought bear some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy and are relevant to a terrorism or spying probe.

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