Patriot Act

Judge Strikes Down Patriot Act Provision that Allows Secret Info Gathering on Citizens
Patriot Act

A Chicago Sun-Times commentary reports that Judge Victor Marrero of federal District Court in New York struck down a provision in the Patriot Act that would "not only give the government the right to subpoena Internet service providers for information about users, without court review, but also bar those providers from informing anyone -- even their lawyers -- they had received such a 'national security letter.' ' The Judge stated that the provision 'violated constitutional free speech guarantees and protection against unreasonable searches. He characterized it as setting forth standards of 'undue secrecy' and said there was 'no place in our open society' for this kind of shadowy maneuvering. Simply put, no matter how grave the criminal threat that is being investigated, those who embark on surveillance projects of this sort have to justify them before a judge or some judicial authority."

ACLU Praises 9/11 Commission Report for Challenging Patriot Act and Secrecy
Patriot Act

"'Regarding civil liberties, the 9/11 Commission report essentially says that the Justice Department and White House have not made a compelling case for either the administration's obsession with secrecy or its Patriot Act,' said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director. 'This bipartisan report should serve as a wake-up call for Congress that it must maintain the sunsets in the Patriot Act.' As the report states on page 394, 'The burden of proof for retaining a particular governmental power should be on the executive, to explain (a) that the power actually materially enhances security and (b) that there is adequate supervision of the executive's use of the powers to ensure protection of civil liberties. If the power is granted, there must be adequate guidelines and oversight to properly confine its use.'... The report also cites both excessive government secrecy and overclassification as threats to open government and, more notably, as threats to national security."

PunkVoter Demands Answers from Ashcroft on the Use of the Patriot Act to Persecute Anti-war Protestors
Patriot Act

Pat Thetic of Punkvoter.com writes: "I, like many Americans, want immediate and meaningful answers as to how the PATRIOT ACT is being used. Specifically, I demand to know why you have not responded to the hundreds of complaints your office has received for conducting unwarranted investigations for personal information about the students and organizers who, in the spirit in which America was founded, participated in a peaceful anti-war protest at Drake University in Des Moines on Nov. 15, 2003. Also, why have you not responded to questions about a federal gag order used to prevent the university from discussing how deep into the students' records you searched? There is a simple way to clear up the questions. Go before the Senate Judiciary Committee and take full responsibility for your agency's Actions! Show the nation what changes need to be made to PATRIOT ACT to protect the freedoms that so many men and women have died for. "

House Bill Would Enforce Patriot Act Secrecy Clause
Patriot Act

"Even as the government increasingly comes under fire from civil libertarians for using Patriot Act provisions to seek personal information without probable cause, some lawmakers are working to expand those powers...signs of public outrage have begun to surface over the FBI's use of National Security Letters (NSLs) to secretly demand information from business and public agencies about their clientele. Now some lawmakers in the US House of Representatives are considering a bill that would designate concrete penalties for people who refuse to comply with NSL requests for information or who tell anyone that federal agents requested personal information about their clients."