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Specter blocks deal to extend Patriot Act, calls for revisions

[JURIST] US Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official profile] Friday voiced objections to a legislative deal [JURIST report] that extend the USA Patriot Act [bill summary], siding with a bipartisan group of senators threatening to filibuster the bill unless it is rewritten to provide increased privacy protections. The White House had previously pushed Congress to vote on the extension before Thanksgiving, but without Specter's the support a vote next week is highly unlikely. Specter said that the legislation, which has support in the House, "needs further analysis and some revision." The House version currently sets a seven year expiration date on two provisions that Specter thinks should expire in four years: the so-called "library provision" that authorizes seizure of personal and business information, and the section that allows FBI wiretaps of any terror suspect. The current USA Patriot Act [text; JURIST news archive] expires December 31. The Seattle Times has more. US House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner provides this report [PDF] on the state of the Patriot Act conference negotiations; Rep. John Conyers, Ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, offers resources on Patriot Act renewal.

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