The U.S. Senate has voted to make permanent most parts of the controversial anti-terrorism law known as the Patriot Act.
Enacted six weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks against the United States in 2001, the Patriot Act increased the government's search and surveillance powers. Many of its provisions were to expire at the end of this year, but Friday's Senate vote ensured they will remain in effect indefinitely.
Although the Senate is controlled by members of President Bush's Republican Party, it disregarded administration requests to endorse all provisions of the Patriot Act. The lawmakers placed several limits on the actions of police and other official investigators. They killed a proposal that would have given the Federal Bureau of Investigation the power to subpoena many personal and business records without first winning a judge's approval.
Last week the House of Representatives passed a separate version of the Patriot Act that yielded to more of the administration's requests for increased police powers. A compromise version of the two texts must be agreed later this year before the bill can be signed into law and become law.
Some information for this story provided by Reuters and AFP.