Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Isn't it Ironic: PATRIOT Act leads to spying on "ordinary Americans"

According to a disturbing article in Sunday's Washington Post, the FBI's use of "National Security Letters" is "extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans."

"National security letters" were created in the 1970's as narrow exceptions to consumer privacy laws to allow the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents, but "the FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year... a hundredfold increase over historic norms."

Eerily, these letters are issued not by judges but by "FBI field supervisors" who "do not need the imprimatur of a prosecutor, grand jury or judge" before issing them.

And what do we do with the information that's received from these investigations? The article continues, "In late 2003, the Bush administration reversed a long-standing policy requiring agents to destroy their files on innocent American citizens, companies and residents when investigations closed. Late last month, President Bush signed Executive Order 13388, expanding access to those files for "state, local and tribal" governments and for "appropriate private sector entities," which are not defined.

Here is a link to the ACLU's news release on this disturbing trend.

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