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Statement of Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) on the Reauthorization of the Patriot Act


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today released the following statement on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.


“Last year, I supported a Senate bill to reauthorize the Patriot Act.  That bill made modest, but important changes to the original law to restore limited judicial oversight to the secret surveillance powers granted to the government.  Judicial review is a critical restraint on unchecked power and an important check on the secret eavesdropping, secret searches of residences and secret subpoenas that the government may use.  And, in light of recent revelations that the Bush Administration violated federal law in conducting secret wiretap operations on American citizens, judicial review is more important than ever.  Unfortunately, most of these provisions were stripped from the final bill the Senate passed today.  


“The legislation did include the Combat Meth Act, a national anti-meth law that fights this drug throughout the country by restricting the sale of pseudoephedrine, but also protects stronger state laws like Iowa.  While I would have preferred that the national law be as strong as Iowa’s, I am pleased that we will now be able to launch a comprehensive, national assault on this destructive drug.  We have already seen a dramatic reduction in meth labs in Iowa, and I believe we will see similar results nationwide.  


“I have and continue to fully support the Combat Meth Act.  But I cannot support reauthorization of the Patriot Act without additional protections for civil liberties.  Security and liberty are not an either-or choice, but rather the fundamental principals by which our democracy thrives.  This bill fails to strike the appropriate balance.”

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