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The Lowdown on the Patriot Act

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: From Syracuse, New York, this is Randy, and I'm glad you called, sir. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Rush?

RUSH: Hi.

CALLER: Hey! First off it's an honor to talk to you. Thank you so much for all that you do for this country.

RUSH: Will appreciate your saying that. Thank you very much.

CALLER: Okay, my comment is yesterday three key provisions of the Patriot Act failed to pass in the House of Representatives.

RUSH: Mmm-hmm.

CALLER: I'd be very curious to find out what your take on all that is and how competent you thought the Republican leadership in the House was by not getting it through.

RUSH: I am not certain that that vote is final, and I'll tell you why. You are right that three provisions did not make it. Those three provisions are: "Roving Surveillance Authority: Roving wiretaps have been used routinely by domestic law enforcement in standard criminal cases since the mid-1980s. ... Business Record Orders: Domestic law enforcement, working with local prosecutors, routinely rely on business records through the course of their investigations... However, national security agents did not have the same authority to acquire similar evidence prior to the passage of Section 215 of the Patriot Act."

That failed and "The Lone Wolf Provision: Section 6001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act allows law enforcement to track non-U.S. citizens acting alone to commit acts of terrorism that are not connected to an organized terrorist group or other foreign power." Now, those are the three that were voted down, but they were voted down under unusual rules in the House. Now, Heritage Foundation in their Morning Bell blog today starts this way: "Last night, despite a strong majority vote in favor of the bill, the House of Representatives fell seven votes short of the two-thirds they needed to suspend the rules and pass three key counterterrorism amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

"Many of the headlines you will read today will say things like 'Patriot Act Extension Fails in House,' but the reality is that much of the 'Patriot Act was already permanently enacted. Of the three amendments to FISA at issue in last night's vote, two were part of the original 'Patriot Act, one was part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, and all are set to expire at the end of this month." But! But! But! Here's the thing about this that might give you some hope: "The House voted 277-148 to keep the three provisions of the USA Patriot Act on the books until Dec. 8.

"But Republicans brought up the bill under a special expedited procedure requiring a two-thirds majority," and it was that two-thirds majority, Randy, that the vote was seven short of. Now, the Republicans lost 26 of their own members, adding to the 122 Democrats who voted against it," and some of the Republicans say that they 'felt completely uniformed by their leadership' on this. Some of the rookies, some of the freshmen say they were not really advised about all this in time -- and the leader of the opposition was Dennis Kucinich. Now, something tells me here that Republicans do not intend to vote with Dennis Kucinich, 'cause he's aligned with the ACLU opposing extending the whole thing, the whole Patriot Act. So if Kucinich is for it, "all rational people" ought to be against it.

Randy, this is the one sliver of hope out there: "[T]he article notes, the bill we be brought up again under regular order which will not require a two thirds majority, and it will probably pass..." So what I'm thinking here, Randy (and this is just a wild guess), is that they brought this up under two-thirds first for some procedural reason, and it allowed some people to take a position on this. Remember, 2012 is an election year. They're gonna bring it back up under normal rules. They won't need two-thirds to pass it, and hopefully (if I'm right about this), when that happens, that the law will pass. These three provisions will pass before any damage can be done. But nevertheless, we will keep a sharp eye on this. It's a great question, and you are eminently informed to be so up to speed on this.

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