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FBI asks Congress for expanded power to seize documents

[JURIST] FBI lawyers speaking in front of the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [official website] on Tuesday asked for sweeping new powers to seize records from private citizens and businesses in terrorism investigations without first obtaining a judge's approval. The FBI [official website] seeks the power to issue administrative subpoenas to get information quickly about impending terrorist threats and foreign agents. The hearing was called to discuss reauthorization of portions of the USA Patriot Act [text] which is set to expire this year. The FBI has sought the power of administrative subpoenas since shortly after the Patriot Act's inception and Republican lawmakers are now trying to move the legislation forward and out of committee. The American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website] and other groups have expressed concern [ACLU press release] that the expanded powers to the FBI would infringe on privacy and First Amendment rights. Reuters has more.

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