H.R. 514: To extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving

H.R. 514

To extend expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 relating to access to business records, individual terrorists as agents of foreign powers, and roving

Date
February 8, 2011 (112th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

H.R. 514 is expected to be considered on the House floor on Monday, February 14, 2011, under a rule.  On February 8, 2011, H.R. 514 failed under suspension of the rules by a vote of 277 - 148.  On February 10, 2011, the House passed H. Res. 79, a resolution to provide for the consideration of H.R. 514 under a rule, by a vote of 248 – 176.

H.R. 514 was introduced on January 26, 2011, by Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, which took no official action

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Bill Summary

The bill would extend the three expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Improvement and Reauthorization Act of 2005 and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, until December 8, 2011.

According to the House Committee on the Judiciary, the Majority staff intends to arrange for hearings on the full reauthorization of the provisions at a future date.

Background

On February 25, 2010, the House passed a one year reauthorization of several expiring provisions of the PATRIOT Act via H.R. 3961, the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act of 2009.  The three provisions below are set to expire on February 28, 2011:

(1)   Business Records Provision (the So-Called "Library Provision"—Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act):  This provision allows the FBI to apply to the FISA court for an order granting access to tangible items—including books, records, papers, and other documents—in foreign intelligence, international terrorism and clandestine intelligence cases.  In order to ensure protection against abuses of Section 215 authority, the USA PATRIOT Reauthorization Act of 2005 contains several conditions including Congressional oversight, procedural protections, application requirements and a judicial review process.  Several of the 9-11 terrorists used public computers to review their September 11th plane tickets.  Some Members have expressed that in the context of intelligence or terrorism investigations—and only in that context—investigators should have the authority to request a court order to review business records.

 

(2)   Roving Wiretaps Provision (Section 206 of the PATRIOT Act):  This provision authorizes U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court (FISA) orders for multipoint or "roving" wiretaps for foreign intelligence investigations.  A "roving" wiretap applies to an individual and allows the government to use a single wiretap order to cover any communications device that the suspect uses or may use.  This type of wiretap differs from a traditional criminal wiretap that only applies to a particular phone or computer used by a target.  Without roving wiretap authority, investigators would be forced to seek a new court order each time they need to change the location, phone or computer that needs to be monitored.  Terrorists and foreign spies use multiple communications devices to evade detection.  Some Members have expressed that roving wiretaps are necessary in intelligence investigations to ensure that investigators do not lose track of critical information from suspects under surveillance. 

 

(3)   "Lone Wolf" Provision (Section 6001 of Intelligence Reform Act):  This provision amends the definition of "agent of a foreign power" to include individual foreign terrorists who may not be directly affiliated with a foreign power or international terrorist organization.  This provision would prevent terrorists who work on their own from escaping surveillance simply because they are not agents of a foreign power or avowed members of an international terrorist group.  This provision ONLY applies to foreign terrorists or agents of a foreign power.

Cost

As of press time, the Congressional Budget Office has not produced an official score of H.R. 514.