Patriot Act

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The new version of the USA Patriot Act sits on the president's desk.

The House passed it last night by a surprisingly close two-vote margin with considerable support from Democrats. Republicans are declaring a victory anyway. Parts of the original act are due to expire Friday and President Bush is expected to sign it before then. A White House spokeswoman has already said he looks forward to doing that.

The new version still allows federal officials to obtain things like business records, including those from libraries and bookstores, for foreign intelligence and terrorism investigations.

It also includes several provisions to give stronger civil liberties protection to people who are targeted.