June 17, 2005 | Press Release

Bipartisan Officials Urge Reauthorization of All Expiring Patriot Act Provisions

FDD Senior Fellow Andrew McCarthy says group's recommendations are a “fair compromise to uphold civil liberties and fight terrorism”


Washington, D.C. (June 17, 2005) – FDD Senior Fellow Andrew C. McCarthy today joined with fellow members of the Bipartisan Working Group of Former Government Officials to urge Congress to reauthorize all sixteen expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act and the “lone wolf” provision of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.


“The work of this group shows that there is broad, bipartisan agreement that the Patriot Act is keeping Americans safe while upholding civil liberties,” McCarthy said.  “Throughout our discussions, members of the Working Group, though drawn from a broad range of political viewpoints, recognized the urgency of extending the important law enforcement powers that will expire at the end of the year unless Congress acts. 


“Despite our natural differences, we agreed to some fair compromises that would ensure that the Patriot Act remains an effective law enforcement tool in the war against terrorism.  And we did it by checking politics at the door and analyzing the actual Patriot Act provisions rather than the inaccurate and overwrought rhetoric that others have unfortunately heaped on them throughout this debate.”


The Working Group includes sixteen former executive and legislative branch officials of both political parties.  The co-conveners of the group are Richard Falkenrath of the Brookings Institution, who until May, 2004, was homeland security advisor to President George W. Bush, and John Podesta, former chief of staff for President Clinton and currently president of the Center for American Progress.


In letters to the Chairmen of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees, the Working Group writes:  “The provisions of the Patriot Act that are due to expire have, taken as a whole, enhanced the government's ability to protect the United States from potential terrorist attacks, other threats to our security, and ordinary crimes, and for that reason should not be permitted to expire.”


The Working Group recommends:


  • indefinite reauthorization without modification of 10 of the expiring provisions;
  • indefinite reauthorization of six provisions with recommended modifications agreed to by the Working Group;
  • reauthorization until December 31, 2008 of section 6001 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act (the “lone wolf” provision) allowing for greater surveillance of terror suspects; and,
  • that Congress consider seven other areas the Working Group identified as worthy of further discussion.


McCarthy, who led the 1995 prosecution of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others for waging a terrorist war against the United States that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, has been one of the most prolific and vocal proponents of the Patriot Act. 


His writing on the Patriot Act and terrorism can be found here.


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For a copy of the Working Group's letter to Chairman Specter, the group's full recommendations, and a list of the group's members, please click here.