Young wants changes in Patriot Act

Posted: Tuesday, May 13, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) Rep. Don Young wants to start making amends for a vote he cast in a moment of anger 18 months ago. He is looking to dismantle parts of the USA Patriot Act, which he and most other members of Congress approved in the weeks following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Young, R-Alaska, said he would probably co-sponsor a bill that would make it harder once again for federal law enforcement agencies to see library and bookstore patron records.

I think the Patriot Act was not really thought out,'' Young said Friday while meeting with Alaska reporters. I'm very concerned that, in our desire for security and our enthusiasm for pursuing supposedly terrorists, that sometimes we might be on the verge of giving up the freedoms which we're trying to protect.''

The bill Young said he may co-sponsor was introduced by Rep. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent with whom Young rarely agrees.

It goes to show you I'm willing to look at the right side of an issue,'' Young said. I think he's right in this issue. I don't think it's anybody's business what I'm reading in the library.''

Sanders' bill would block judges on the government's foreign surveillance court from giving federal law enforcement officers warrants to search library and bookstore records for personally identifiable information concerning a patron.''

The Patriot Act, signed by President Bush in October 2001, required the court to grant any request for such records so long as a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent specified that the investigation was designed to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.''

If Sanders' bill passes, the court would still have to grant any terrorism-related warrants requested for searches of all other businesses and organizations.

In defending the Patriot Act, administration officials have noted that it prohibits the FBI from obtaining citizens' records solely'' because they have engaged in activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.''

The state House Monday approved a resolution asking the federal government to fix parts of the USA Patriot Act that may infringe on civil liberties. The resolution also tells state agencies they should not help the federal government with investigations that could violate people's rights unless they have reason to suspect criminal activity.

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