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House, Senate committees to review Patriot Act

[JURIST] Key portions of the USA PATRIOT Act which will expire at the end of this year are set to come up for review this week before the House Judiciary Committee [official site] and the Senate Judiciary Committee [official site]. The Patriot Act, which gave the executive power sweeping law enforcement and investigatory authority, has been controversial since its adoption in the immediate wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks; this week's hearing are expected to feature lively debate over whether to keep or modify the existing provisions. Senator Arlen Specter [official site], who supported a partial repeal of the Patriot Act last year, will preside over the Senate hearings. Representative James Sensenbrenner [official site], chairman of the House Committee, has previously commented [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel report] that allowing the expanded police powers granted by the Act to remain permanent "will be done over my dead body." The Senate will have a hearing on Tuesday, and the House is set to begin hearings on Wednesday. CNET has more. The American Bar Association has established Patriot Debates, a blog containing thoughtful essays on whether specific provisions should be renewed.

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