This is kind of a bummer, but not a big surprise: senators voted 11-4 to move the bill forward but said they would push for limits on the new powers. Allow me to translate the quotes from the article:
“This bill must be amended on the floor to protect national security while protecting Constitutional rights,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.
“I totally agree with the talking points president Bush and Ashcroft had been spouting about needing more executive power and less judicial oversight. Also, we should reincarnate J Edgar Hoover.”
Ranking Democrat Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., supported the bill overall but said he would push for limits that would allow such administrative subpoenas “only if immediacy dictates.”
“Clearly I am ignorant as to what kind of immediacy the FBI would possibly conjure up in order to download all the data from every bank in order to mine it for possible illegal activity. Ditto on reincarnating Hoover.”
Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., said the bill places new checks and balances on the powers it would grant, such as new procedures that would allow people to challenge such administrative orders. He called the Patriot Act “a vital tool in the war on terror” and lauded the Democrats who voted for it in spite of misgivings.
“By ‘new checks and balances,’ I actually mean ‘no judicial review.’ Tomat-oh, tom-ah-to, right? And for those who want to challenge the administrative order, good luck finding out if the FBI even issued a sneak-and-peak search warrant on your ass, because even its existence will be classified. And to those Democrats who voted against it: *cough* terrorist sympathizer investigation *cough*”
“Reincarnate Hoover, but this time make sure he’s less of a pansy, dress-wearing liberal.”