Idaho delegation sponsors measure to clarify Patriot Act - Bipartisan
SAFE Act introduced in Senate, similar legislation to be introduced
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2003 --- Idaho Senators Larry Craig and Mike Crapo
and Congressmen Mike Simpson and C.L. "Butch" Otter are
supporting legislation to amend and clarify several particularly controversial
provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, P.L.107-56, that permit the FBI
to monitor activities of Americans unrelated to terrorism, with minimal
or inadequate judicial oversight. The bill would not impede law enforcement's
ability to investigate terrorism, and would not amend pre-PATRIOT
Act law. Senators Craig and Crapo and a bipartisan coalition in the
Senate introduced S. 1709, the Security and Freedom Ensured Act of
2003 (SAFE Act) late Thursday evening. Congressmen Simpson and Otter
expect to introduce similar bipartisan legislation in the House sometime
in the next two to three weeks. The legislation will target four areas
of the USA PATRIOT Act: "delayed notice" warrants, wiretaps,
surveillance at libraries, and multi-jurisdiction warrants.
"I believe the SAFE Act is a measured, reasonable, and appropriate
response to concerns we have with the USA PATRIOT Act," Senator
Larry Craig said. "This legislation intends to ensure the liberties
of law-abiding individuals are protected in our nation's fight against
terrorism, without in any way impeding that fight. I am very thankful
for the Idaho delegation's support for this measure, and in particular
for Congressman Otter's strong work in the House which provided us
an opportunity to focus Congressional attention on the law and improving
"These changes clarify that terrorists, not American citizens,
are the targets when these federal investigations are launched and
judges must approve the use of any search warrants or wiretape,"
Senator Mike Crapo said. "The bottom line for me is what is in
the U.S. Constitution. We wrote the amendments in the SAFE Act to
further clarify when and when to put these warrants and investigations
into use. They will assist both the law enforcement community as well
as Idaho and U.S. citizens who have concerns or questions about these
kinds of investigations."
"I want to commend Senators Craig and Crapo for bringing forward
a bi-partisan, common-sense approach to reining in some of the most
onerous provisions in the PATRIOT ACT," said Congressman Mike
Simpson. "I firmly believe that both the House and Senate must
remain ever mindful of the potential for misuse or abuse of the PATRIOT
ACT and must make adjustments when necessary. Congressman Otter and
I will be working together to introduce companion legislation in the
House within the next two to three weeks and we will be seeking the
support of a bi-partisan coalition of our colleagues."
"Recent months have seen a growing realization in Congress and
by the American people that some parts of the PATRIOT Act pose serious
threats to our constitutional protections. Now Senator Craig has drafted
a masterful piece of legislation that addresses many of those concerns.
At the same time, this bill ensures the law enforcement and intelligence
communities will have the tools they need to effectively combat terrorism,"
Congressman C.L. "Butch" Otter said. "I want to thank
Senator Craig for his leadership on this issue. I look forward to
moving ahead as a delegation in pursuit of our shared commitment to
freedom and security."
The Senate bill will now go to the Senate Judiciary Committee for
review. Congressmen Simpson and Otter expect to introduce similar
legislation in the House of Representatives in the next two to three