Sales Testifies on Reauthorization of PATRIOT Act

Professor Nathan Sales made a March 9 trip to Capitol Hill, where he appeared before the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security to discuss “The Reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act.”

Testifying in favor of reauthorization, Sales commented, “The USA PATRIOT Act is a vital set of tools in our ongoing struggle against al Qaeda and like-minded terrorists. This is especially true of the three authorities that are up for renewal this year: ‘roving wiretaps,’ “business records,’ and ‘lone wolf.’ Notwithstanding the PATRIOT Act’s controversial reputation, these three provisions are actually quite modest. In many cases, they simply let counterterrorism agents use some of the same techniques that ordinary criminal investigators have been using for decades–techniques that the federal courts repeatedly have upheld. Plus, each of these authorities contains elaborate safeguards–including prior judicial review–to help prevent abuses from taking place. Indeed, some of the PATRIOT Act’s protections are even stronger than the ones from the world of ordinary law enforcement.”

Joining Sales as witnesses at the hearing were Todd Hinnen, Acting Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division of the Department of Justice; Robert S. Litt, General Counsel, Office of the Director of National Intelligence; and Julian Sanchez, Research Fellow for the Cato Institute.