Deal Reached on Extension of Patriot Act


WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders on Thursday reached a deal to extend by four years several statutes that expanded the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s counterterrorism and surveillance powers after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, aides said.

Under the deal, two sections of the so-called USA Patriot Act and a third provision from a related intelligence law would be extended, without any changes, until June 1, 2015. The provisions had been set to expire later this month.

The sections allow investigators to get “roving wiretap” court orders allowing them to follow terrorism suspects who switch phone numbers or providers; to get orders allowing them to seize “any tangible things” relevant to a security investigation, like a business’s customer records; and to get national-security wiretap orders against noncitizen suspects who are not believed to be connected to any foreign power.

Some lawmakers had proposed tightening the circumstances when the F.B.I. could use the surveillance powers. Others — including the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont — had proposed requiring greater auditing and public reporting about their use.

The Obama administration asked Congress to renew the provisions, while taking a coy stance about whether any particular changes were a good idea. Some Republicans, meanwhile, argued that the provisions should be made permanent without any modifications.

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