(CBS/AP) Updated at 5:00 a.m. Eastern
WASHINGTON — President Obama has taken advantage of a little-known and infrequently used device called an autopen to put his signature on legislation extending the government's post-Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists for another four years.
Earlier on Thursday, Congress passed a four-year extension of the Patriot Act. Votes taken in rapid succession in the Senate and House came after lawmakers rejected attempts to temper the law enforcement powers to ensure that individual liberties are not abused.
Following the 250-153 evening vote in the House, the legislation to renew three terrorism-fighting authorities was sent to the President's office for a signature with only hours to go before the provisions were due to expire at midnight.