DOJ Ball

exiled from the underworld

Our tax dollars, soldiering away in the War on Terrorism, support the Department of Justice website. Its page-top banner reads:
"Preserving Life & Liberty"

On 28 April 2005 United States Attorney Ken Wainstein, appearing on behalf of the DOJ, testified before House Committee on the Judiciary in hearings on reauthorizing PATRIOT Act provisions that are set to expire at the end of this year. One controversial provision, Section 215, allows law enforcement to obtain a secret, uncontested order from a clandestine court in order to search the business records of... just about anyone. The person on whom the court order is served may NOT disclose to anyone the anything about the order or the search-- including the fact of the order's existence.

From Mr. Wainstein's testimony:

To some, section 215 has become known as "the library provision". This moniker, however, is a gross distortion of the provision and makes about as much sense as calling all grand jury subpoenas "library subpoenas." Section 215 does not single out or mention libraries, and the Attorney General has recently declassified that as of March 30,2005, the provision had never be used to obtain library records.

[snip]

The Department has not requested a section 215 order to obtain library or bookstore records, medical records, or gun sale records.

Should I feel comforted by this fact? Does the DOJ takes seriously its charge to preserve my liberty-- my right to free speech, to have access to a free press, and my right to privacy.

WAIT a minute-- Eric Lichtblau reports in Monday's New York Times that law enforcement has made at least 200 formal or informal inquiries to libraries for information on reading material and other internal matters since October 2001. The American Library Association conducted a study to determine how frequently federal, state and local agents are demanding records from libraries.  Read on... Mr. Wainstein's testimony:

To some, section 215 has become known as "the library provision". This moniker, however, is a gross distortion of the provision and makes about as much sense as calling all grand jury subpoenas "library subpoenas." Section 215 does not single out or mention libraries, and the Attorney General has recently declassified that as of March 30,2005, the provision had never be used to obtain library records.


↓ Story continues below ↓

[snip]

The Department has not requested a section 215 order to obtain library or bookstore records, medical records, or gun sale records.

Should I feel comforted by this fact? Does the DOJ takes seriously its charge to preserve my liberty-- my right to free speech, to have access to a free press, and my right to privacy.

WAIT a minute-- Eric Lichtblau reports in Monday's New York Times that law enforcement has made at least 200 formal or informal inquiries to libraries for information on reading material and other internal matters since October 2001. The American Library Association conducted a study to determine how frequently federal, state and local agents are demanding records from libraries. Read on...

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