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Senate Stalemate on NSA Surveillance Could End Programs

“Without action by the end of the month, provisions of the Patriot Act will expire,” The Hill reports, “which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) argues would put the United States at a pre Sept. 11, 2001-footing.”  

“Yet McConnell has no definite path to extend those provisions. He and other hawkish senators are pressing for an extension of the Patriot Act measures, but they are opposed by other senators, the White House and a majority of House lawmakers in both parties… Observers say it’s increasingly looking like the standoff could result in no action by Congress, which would mean the Patriot Act provisions would lapse.”  

“Investigations that have already begun under the law would likely be allowed to continue using the provisions until their conclusion. But after that, it would be over… There are other tools that the government still has at its disposal to collect information — such as grand jury subpoenas or so-called pen registers — but intelligence officials say they would inevitably lose access to some information.”

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