Deadline Looms for Congress on Patriot Act

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Congressional lawmakers are racing to extend three provisions of the Patriot Act before they expire at midnight Thursday. 
    
The legislation, enacted after 9/11, provides law enforcement officials with anti-terror tools, like the use of roving wiretaps and the surveillance of terror suspects.

"Should the authority to use these critical tools expire, our nation's intelligence and law enforcement professionals will have less capability than they have today to detect terrorist plots," James Clapper, director of National Intelligence, wrote congressional leaders.

The U.S. Senate is set to vote on the legislation Thursday, before sending it to the House for quick approval. The bill will then go to President Barack Obama for his signature.

The rapid-fire action comes after several days of prodding from senior intelligence officials, who warned of the consequences of disrupting surveillance operations.

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