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USA Patriot Act Letter

March 2, 2011

The Honorable Patrick Leahy
Chairman
Senate Judiciary Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Charles Grassley
Ranking Member
Senate Judiciary Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Leahy and Ranking Member Grassley:

As you know, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) is the largest non-partisan, non-profit law enforcement association and represents 26,000 federal law enforcement officers from 65 federal agencies. In light of tomorrow's scheduled Executive Business Meeting, we are writing to provide you with our views regarding reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act.

To date, many recently thwarted terrorist and criminal plots can be directly attributed to provisions within the USA PATRIOT ACT. The ACT offers federal law enforcement officers the tools to stay ahead of violent criminals and better protect the American citizenry from threats.

FLEOA sees this ACT as a crucial tool for law enforcement, and not something that should periodically expire. The work of federal law enforcement officers has only been enhanced by the USA PATRIOT ACT.

Provisions dealing with:

1) Online Surveillance
2) Roving Wiretaps and Pen Resisters
3) Issuance of John Doe Warrants
4) Accessing financial records and documents
5) Records related to books and magazine purchases
6) Issuance of National Security Letters

In light of today’s threats, the provisions listed above are tools that help thwart terrorists and criminals that use identity theft, the internet, cellular and satellite phones, phishing schemes, social networking and wire transfers to affect their crimes.

FLEOA has the distinct honor of representing the interests of law enforcement officers from the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, Department of Defense, Department of Treasury, and a host of other agencies. These officers are the front-line guardians that protect our nation from terrorist and criminal threats.

They are the ones that have used the provisions in the USA PATRIOT ACT to keep Americans safe under the microscope of strict agency and judicial oversight that has yet to be cited as "excessive" by any investigation or Inspector General's office.

We would caution the Congress to be careful when trying to re-work any provisions that have already been in effect and have been effective.

Additionally, the short-term authorization is at odds with a Congress that in the aftermath of the September 11th, 2001 attacks asked "Why didn't we know and connect the dots?"

The USA PATRIOT ACT removed some of the barriers in place that prevented us from "connecting the dots" and any retraction of those provisions is in effect, "re-building the wall."

Crime and terrorism will not "sunset" and are still targeting our nation and American citizens. Just like handcuffs, this tool should be a permanent part of the law enforcement arsenal and arguments to the contrary are flawed and do not recognize the reality that the ACT has worked.

In this nation, law enforcement is guided by an ethos to act "beyond reproach" and Office of Inspector General's offices ensure that is the case.

FLEOA greatly appreciates Congress’ willingness to continue this important national security tool and would caution you not to put it "back behind the wall" and is willing to work with Congress as any proposed legislation moves through it.

Respectfully yours,

J. Adler
National President