Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today called for Democrats to reauthorize national security provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act that are scheduled to expire at the end of this week. 

Ranking Member Smith: “Despite an attempted terrorist attack on Christmas Day and warnings of an imminent attack by intelligence experts, congressional Democrats have irresponsibly ignored their obligation to maintain our national security laws.  Three essential national security provisions will expire at the end of this week.  These provisions are used by law enforcement officials and intelligence agents to prevent terrorist attacks. 

“Congress has a duty to protect the American people.  Failing to reauthorize our national security laws in a time of heightened threat is reckless.”

The following national security provisions are scheduled to expire on Sunday, February 28:  the roving wiretaps provision of the PATRIOT Act, the business records provision of the PATRIOT Act, and the “lone wolf” provision of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act. 

A roving wiretap allows the government to a use a single wiretap order to cover any communications device that a target may use.  This type of wiretap differs from a traditional criminal wiretap that applies only to a particular phone or computer used by a suspect.  The business records provision allows investigators to obtain a FISA court order to procure certain records in national security investigations.  The “lone wolf” or “lone terrorist” provision allows investigators to gather intelligence on a suspected terrorist that is not an agent of a foreign power or directly affiliated with a terrorist group.