By now you've heard that the Patriot Act provisions that were due to sunset Feb. 28, 2010 have been extended until Feb. 28, 2011. It sounds deceptively simple, a mild one-year extension.
But it's not. It undoes months, no years of work to add a few checks and balances to better extension bills. I will write up a longer post very soon, but the thrust of it is that we are stuck with an unchanged Sect. 215, often called "the library records" provision, a broad authority that doesn't require particularized suspicion.
Far worse, to my mind, is what's NOT included in this extension. Small but important reforms to the National Security Letter (NSL) provisions were riding on more favorable extension bills. The NSL provisions do not sunset, and the momentum to reform them vanishes with the straight-up one-year sunset extension.