Contact: Jenni Terry
ALA Washington Office
For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2009 introduced into the Senate today by Sens. Patrick Leahy (VT-D), Benjamin Cardin (MD-D) and Ted Kaufman (DE-D) would restore a balance between our nation’s surveillance laws and our civil liberties.
The bill proposes reforms to Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT ACT, commonly referred to as the “library provision,” which the American Library Association (ALA) has long sought to amend. It raises the legal standards to obtain a Section 215 order by requiring the government to show “relevance” to an authorized investigation. Additionally, the bill calls for judicial review of national security letters (NSL) nondisclosure orders as well as increased public reporting on NSLs and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
“We welcome the opportunity to have a full and public debate on how best to protect our civil liberties while also assuring that law enforcement has the tools it needs to fight terrorism,” said ALA President Camila Alire. “The momentum toward reform is building with two strong Senate bills before the American public. The ALA looks forward to engaging in this public debate and continuing our mission to ensure patron privacy and other civil liberties are protected.”