Patriot Act

Attorney general to defend renewal of Patriot Act to Congress

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will defend the Patriot Act today on Capitol Hill. Gonzales appears before a Senate committee today and a House panel tomorrow. He says he's willing to hear out critics of the sweeping anti-terrorism law -- but wants its provisions renewed.

The Patriot Act was passed 45 days after Nine-Eleven. It expanded the government's powers to watch and prosecute terror suspects, their associates and money men. Most of the law is permanent, but 15 provisions will expire in December unless Congress extends them. Critics say the law goes too far in intruding on people's lives. They're worried the government could use one provision to subpoena library and bookstore records and snoop into the reading habits of innocent Americans.

An unusual coalition of conservative and liberal groups is urging that some parts of the act be repealed.