With virtually zero debate - or media attention - President Barack Obama has signed a one-year extension for what many considered the most crucial and controversial aspects of the USA PATRIOT Act. The provisions, set to expire Sunday without the signature of Obama, include extensions to allow:
-1) "roving" wiretaps, permitting surveillance on multiple phones and e-mail addresses.
-2) court-approved seizures of records and property in anti-terrorism operations.
-3) surveillance on "lone-wolf" foreign nationals, who may not be part of a recognized terrorist group.
Originally set to expire in December, a two-month extension was passed by Congress late last year.
For many on the left, the Patriot Act is the defining pillar and symbol of the previous administration, emblematic of a totalitarian police state they allegedly suffered under George W. Bush. And what does not come as a surprise is the fact Obama's signature comes on a Saturday night - when all the world is surely clamoring for the latest political news.
Expect a buzzsaw of media scrutiny from the champions of the so-called candidate of "change" in mainstream media the next several news-cycles?