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Provisions of the USA Patriot Act

ASSOCIATED PRESS | March 7, 2006

Provisions and changes in the USA Patriot Act.


-The package makes clear that recipients of National Security Letters have the right to challenge them in court.

-It gives recipients of court-approved subpoenas for information in terrorist investigations the right to challenge a requirement that they refrain from telling anyone.

-It clarifies that most libraries are not subject to demands in those letters for information about suspected terrorists.

-It takes aim at the methamphetamine trade by imposing new restrictions on the sale of over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines, which contain a key ingredient for the drug. Beginning 30 days after President Bush signs the law, expected sometime this week, purchase limits go into effect: One person would be limited to buying 300, 30-mg pills in a month or 120 such pills in a day. The measure would make an exception for "single-use" sales - individually packaged pseudoephedrine products.

By Sept. 30, retailers would be required to sell such medicines from behind the counter and purchasers would have to show ID and sign log books.

-The package also cracks down on port security by imposing tough punishments on crew members who try to stop or mislead law enforcement officials investigating their ships.


-Section 201 - Gives federal officials the authority to intercept wire, spoken and electronic communications relating to terrorism.

-Section 202 - Gives federal officials the authority to intercept wire, spoken and electronic communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses.

-Subsection 203(b) - Permits the sharing of grand jury information that involves foreign intelligence or counterintelligence with federal law enforcement, intelligence, protective, immigration, national defense or national security officials

-Subsection 203(d) - Gives foreign intelligence or counterintelligence officers the ability to share foreign intelligence information obtained as part of a criminal investigation with law enforcement.

-Section 204 - Makes clear that nothing in the law regarding pen registers - an electronic device that records all numbers dialed from a particular phone line - stops the government's ability to obtain foreign intelligence information.

-Section 206 - Allows federal officials to issue roving "John Doe" wiretaps, which let investigators listen in on any telephone and tap any computer they think a suspected spy or terrorist might use.

-Section 207 - Increases the amount of time federal officials may watch people they suspect are spies or terrorists.

-Section 209 - Permits the seizure of voicemail messages under a warrant.

-Section 212 - Permits Internet service providers and other electronic communication and remote computing service providers to hand over records and e-mails to federal officials in emergency situations.

-Section 214 - Allows use of a pen register or trap and trace devices that record originating phone numbers of all incoming calls in international terrorism or spy investigations.

-Section 215 - Authorizes federal officials to obtain "tangible items" like business records, including those from libraries and bookstores, for foreign intelligence and international terrorism investigations.

-Section 217 - Makes it lawful to intercept the wire or electronic communication of a computer hacker or intruder in certain circumstances.

-Section 218 - Allows federal officials to wiretap or watch suspects if foreign intelligence gathering is a "significant purpose" for seeking a Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act order. The pre-Patriot Act standard said officials could ask for the surveillance only if it was the sole or main purpose.

-Section 220 - Provides for nationwide service of search warrants for electronic evidence.

-Section 223 - Amends the federal criminal code to provide for administrative discipline of federal officers or employees who violate prohibitions against unauthorized disclosures of information gathered under this act.

-Section 225 - Amends FISA to prohibit lawsuits against people or companies that provide information to federal officials for a terrorism investigation.




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