The Senate has handed the Bush administration and Republican congressional leaders a huge defeat. It rejected an attempt to renew key provisions of the Patriot Act that expire at the end of the year.
Opponents argued the bill doesn't have enough safeguards and
infringes too much on the privacy of Americans.
Senate supporters of the bill were eight votes short of the 60 votes needed to clear a parliamentary hurdle.
President Bush, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Republican
congressional leaders had lobbied hard to make most of the expiring
Patriot Act provisions permanent. But opponents said the act still allowed police too much leeway to delve into the private lives of Americans.
They sought a short extension so they can continue to try to add more civil liberty safeguards to the law. But the president and Republican leaders rejected that request.