According to the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Friday rejected attempts to reauthorize several provisions of the USA Patriot Act as infringing too much on Americans’ privacy and liberty, dealing a huge defeat to the Bush administration and Republican leaders.

more below the fold:

In a crucial vote early Friday, the bill’s Senate supporters were not able to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a threatened filibuster by Sens. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and their allies. The final vote was 52-47.

President Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Republicans congressional leaders had lobbied fiercely to make most of the expiring Patriot Act provisions permanent, and add new safeguards and expiration dates to the two most controversial parts: roving wiretaps and secret warrants for books, records and other items from businesses, hospitals and organizations such as libraries.

Feingold, Craig and other critics said that wasn’t enough, and have called for the law to be extended in its present form so they can continue to try and add more civil liberties safeguards. But Bush, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert have said they won’t accept a short-term extension of the law.

If a compromise is not reached, the 16 Patriot Act provisions expire on Dec. 31.

I’m cautiously optimistic that this awful law will finally go the way of the Edsel.

Update [2005-12-17 2:2:10 by James Benjamin]:
From the comments there’s some great info. Apparently the NYT story on Bu$hCo authorizing NSA eavesdropping on US callers had some impact on the vote. Supporting that assertion is this gem from Madman in the Marketplace over at Liberal Street Fighter: Sen. Feingold’s Senate floor statement just prior to cloture:

This morning we saw an astounding story in the New York Times. Since 2002, the government has been reportedly wiretapping the international phone and email conversations of hundreds, even thousands of people inside the United States, without wiretap orders. You want to talk about abuses? I can’t imagine a more shocking example of an abuse of power, to eavesdrop on American citizens without first getting a court order based on some evidence that they are possibly criminals, terrorists or spies. Mr. President, it is truly astonishing to read that this Administration would go this far beyond the bounds of the statutes and the Constitution. We as an institution have the duty, the obligation, to get to the bottom of this.

I hope that this morning’s revelation drives home to people that this body must be absolutely vigilant in our oversight of government power. And I don’t want to hear again from the Attorney General or anyone on this floor that this government has shown it can be trusted to use the power we give it with restraint and care. This shocking revelation ought to send a chill down the spine of every Senator and every American.

Strong words from a very tough Senator. As critical as I have been about the Democrat party, I do certainly believe that those Dems who are willing to stand and be counted deserve a great deal of respect. Feingold has earned that consistently. To see how your Senators voted, check out this link to the roll call vote (thanks to a couple of my commenters).

I imagine that there are quite a few of us here in the frogpond who considered ourselves voices in the wilderness back when the Patriot Act was first enacted, for having the sheer nerve to assert that abuses by Bu$hCo (or really any White House administration) were extremely probable. I’m actually guardedly hopeful for the first time in a long time that the darkness that has enveloped our country is beginning to lift – even if only a little.

To those of you who’ve commented and/or who’ve recommended this diary, thanks!

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