Our Priorities: The Patriot Act Sunsets and Domestic Surveillance

Congress must resist the current push to eliminate the expiration provisions in the 2001 couterterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act.

Congress should deliberate at length before reauthorizing any of these "sunseted" provisions in the law.

Congress should extend the sunset provisions to a number of other sections of the Patriot Act, including provisions authorizing secret search warrants and an overbroad definition of domestic terrorism that threatens to sweep in political protesters.

Congress should use the debate about the sunsets as a springboard into a broader discussion about the health of checks and balances post-9/11.

This broader discussion should include the expansive of federal surveillance authority with minimal or non-existent judicial review.

In particular, the Department of Justice should revise the internal Attorney General Guidelines to prevent the FBI from sending undercover agents to political rallies or religious services without prior suspicion of wrongdoing.

Congress should address the proliferation of data-mining and electronic data surveillance initiatives post-9/11.

Dragnet sweeps through vast fields of personal information collected from innocent Americans is an inefficient and ineffective counterterrorism tactic.