Renewing the expiring portions of the Patriot Act is a top priority of President Bush. One section of the law that is scheduled to expire permits police to conduct Internet surveillance with only the permission of a network operator, and no warrant. Another, Section 215, permits the FBI to secretly learn what library books a patron has read and what Web sites a library patron has visited.
The tumultuous process of reviewing portions of the Patriot Act is about to begin. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said Thursday that his Judiciary Committee will begin a series of three hearings starting April 5 to examine the 2001 law and consider which sections should be renewed before their Dec. 31 expiration date. Only some portions are set to automatically expire.