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05/25/2005 Archived Entry: "Who needs a judge when they already know you're a terrorist?"
WHY BOTHER WITH A JUDGE WHEN THE FBI ALREADY THINKS YOU'RE A TERRORIST? Such an inefficient, old-fashioned notion, getting approval before doing a search:
WASHINGTON: The FBI today asked the United States Congress for sweeping new powers to seize business or private records, ranging from medical information to book purchases, to investigate terrorism without first securing approval from a judge.
Valerie Caproni, FBI general counsel, told the US Senate Intelligence Committee her agency needed the power to issue what are known as administrative subpoenas to get information quickly about terrorist plots and the activities of foreign agents.
Civil liberties groups have complained the subpoenas, which would cover medical, tax, gun-purchase, book purchase, travel and other records and could be kept secret, would give the FBI too much power and could infringe on privacy and free speech. ...
The issue of administrative subpoenas dominated the hearing, which was called to discuss reauthorisation of clauses of the USA Patriot Act due to expire at the end of this year.
The act was passed shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks. However administrative subpoena power was not in the original law. The proposed new powers, long sought by the FBI, have been added by Republican lawmakers, acting on the wishes of the Bush administration, to the new draft of the USA Patriot Act. ...
Under the proposed legislation, those served with subpoenas would have the right to challenge them in court. But civil liberties groups said few were likely to do so, and the person being investigated would be unlikely even to know that the FBI was seeking his personal records.
For example, if the FBI demanded a person's medical records from his doctor, the doctor could challenge the order if he wished, but the individual could not.
The article is here (in New Zealand). But I've quoted the meat of it above.
You can't help but notice that the more our leaders prate about "democracy" -- meaning government by the people -- the more eager they become to bypass the people -- governing in secrecy and with ever-fewer checks on their imperial and imperious behavior.
(Thank yous to R.L. and S.J.)
Posted by Claire @ 12:20 PM CST