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Tag: Patriot act

Column: How the Patriot Act Stripped Me of My Free-Speech Rights

By Nicholas Merrill
Washington Post

Sometime in 2012, I will begin the ninth year of my life under an FBI gag order, which began when I received what is known as a national security letter at the small Internet service provider I owned. On that day in 2004 (the exact date is redacted from court papers, so I can’t reveal it), an FBI agent came to my office and handed me a letter. It demanded that I turn over information about one of my clients and forbade me from telling “any person” that the government had approached me.

National security letters are issued by the FBI, not a judge, to obtain phone, computer, and banking information. Instead of complying, I spoke with a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union and filed a constitutional challenge against the NSL provision of the Patriot Act, which was signed into law 10 years ago Wednesday.

A decade later, much of the government’s surveillance policy remains shrouded in secrecy, making it impossible for the American public to engage in a meaningful debate on the effectiveness or wisdom of various practices.

To read full column click here.

Congress Passes Extensions of Key Provisions of Patriot Act; 2 Senators Question Justice Dept. Interpretation of Act


By CHARLIE SAVAGE
The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Two senators claimed on Thursday that the Justice Department had secretly interpreted the so-called Patriot Act in a twisted way, enabling domestic surveillance activities that many members of Congress do not understand.

At the same time, Congress and the White House were rushing to enact legislation to prevent a lapse in several of the federal government’s investigative powers under the Patriot Act that were set to expire at midnight.

The Senate passed the bill 72 to 23 late in the afternoon, and within hours the House approved it 250 to 153. In an unusual move, a White House spokesman said that President Obama, who was in Europe, would “direct the use” of an autopen machine to sign the bill into law without delay.

To Read more click here.

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Column: Congress Playing Games With USA Patriot Act

By Ronald Kessler
Newsmax.com

Once again, members of Congress are putting our lives at risk by playing games with the USA Patriot Act.

Because of opposition of Democrats and some Republicans, crucial components of the act are set to expire on May 27 after Congress agreed to a temporary extension.

The provisions deal with roving wiretaps, “lone wolf” terrorism suspects, and the government’s ability to seize “any tangible thing” such as records.

Roving wiretaps simply allow a judge to authorize electronic surveillance of a terrorist suspect regardless of what phone he uses.

Prior to passage of the law, the FBI had to return to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for new authorization each time a terrorist changed phones. While the FBI applied for new authorization, a terrorist could have changed phones again and blown up an airplane in mid-flight.

To read full column click here.

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Column: Ex-FBI Agent Says Scathing IG Report Doesn’t Faze Bureau in Raids on Anti-War Activitists

Rowley in center

Rowley in center

By Coleen  Rowley
Ex-FBI Agent
For Huffington Post

The war on dissent, rather than terrorism, continued full steam with FBI SWAT teams breaking down doors at 7 am Friday (Sept 24) morning and raiding the homes of several anti-war leaders and activists in Minneapolis, Chicago and possibly a couple other Midwest cities.

Members of the FBI’s “Joint Terrorism Task Force” spent a few hours at each Minneapolis residence, seizing personal photographs and papers, computers and cell phones as well as serving Federal Grand Jury subpoenas on the various activists.

Obviously the scathing review of post 9-11 FBI “terrorism investigations” targeting various peace and social justice groups completed by the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) and just issued four days ago gave no pause to the FBI to reflect before continuing to do more of the same.

To read more click here.

Feds Charging Moms and Others With Terrorism Aboard Planes

Is an irate mother aboard a plane who spanks her child a terrorist? Are the feds going too far charging people on planes with acts of terrorism? Could be.

By Ralph Vartabedian and Peter Pae
Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Los Angeles and Oklahoma City — Tamera Jo Freeman was on a Frontier Airlines flight to Denver in 2007 when her two children began to quarrel over the window shade and then spilled a Bloody Mary into her lap.
She spanked each of them on the thigh with three swats. It was a small incident, but one that in the heightened anxiety after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks would eventually have enormous ramifications for Freeman and her children.
A flight attendant confronted Freeman, who responded by hurling a few profanities and throwing what remained of a can of tomato juice on the floor.
The incident aboard the Frontier flight ultimately led to Freeman’s arrest and conviction for a federal felony defined as an act of terrorism under the Patriot Act, the controversial federal law enacted after the 2001 attacks in New York and Washington.
“I had no idea I was breaking the law,” said Freeman, 40, who spent three months in jail before pleading guilty.
For Full Story

Read Tamera Jo Freeman Criminal Complaint

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