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SECURITY AND FREEDOM ENSURED ACT (S. 1709)
Sen. Craig (R-ID) and Sen. Durbin (D-IL)
Supported by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers and advocacy groups, the Security and
Freedom Ensured Act (SAFE) seeks to correct some of the excesses in the
hastily enacted USA PATRIOT Act, which granted broad new powers to law enforcement.
SAFE aims to protect Americans civil liberties by making modest but important changes
to several of PATRIOTs most troublesome provisions. Specifically, SAFE:
- Limits the use of John Doe roving wiretaps. SAFE § 2 amends 50 U.S.C.
1805 to ensure that Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) wiretap orders meet the
4th Amendments particularity requirement and clearly limit the scope of the wiretap. Roving
wiretap orders that do not specify the facility or location to be tapped
must at least identify the person whose communications are targeted, while John Doe
wiretap orders that do not specify the targeted person must at least identify
the facility or location to be tapped.
- Limits the use of secret sneak & peek searches. SAFE § 3 amends 18
U.S.C. 3103a to codify pre-PATRIOT standards for allowing delayed notice of a government
search, limiting secret searches to those situations where notice would endanger life or
limb, result in flight from prosecution, or result in evidence destruction/tampering.
- Protects Americans sensitive, personal information from government access without justification. SAFE § 4 amends
FISA to protect private records held by third parties. SAFE restores the pre-PATRIOT
requirement that there exist specific and articulable facts giving reason to believe that
the party whose records are sought is a foreign power or an agent
of a foreign power, such as a spy or an international terrorist, before
a court order for the records is issued.
- Prevents the government from accessing library records without judicial approval. SAFE § 5 amends
18 U.S.C. 2709 to prevent the use of National Security Letters to obtain
library records. National Security Letters are administrative subpoenas that are issued directly by
the Justice Department without any judicial oversight.
- Expands PATRIOTs sunset provision, such that the following
PATRIOT sections will expire on December 31, 2005:
§ 213. Authority for delaying notice of the execution of a warrant.
§ 216. Modification of authorities relating to use of pen registers and trap
and trace devices.
§ 219. Single-jurisdiction search warrants for terrorism.
§ 505. Miscellaneous national security authorities.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation respectfully urges swift passage of the Security and Freedom Ensured Act.