Librarians Describe Life Under an FBI Gag Order By Luke O'Brien Wired
Sunday 24 June 2007
Life in an FBI muzzle is no fun. Two Connecticut librarians on Sunday described what it was like to be slapped with an FBI national security letter and accompanying gag order. It sounded like a spy movie or, gulp, something that happens under a repressive foreign government. Peter Chase and Barbara Bailey, librarians in Plainville, Connecticut, received an NSL to turn over computer records in their library on July 13, 2005. Unlike a suspected thousands of other people around the country, Chase, Bailey and two of their colleagues stood up to the Man and refused to comply, convinced that the feds had no right to intrude on anyone's privacy without a court order (NSLs don't require a judge's approval). That's when things turned ugly.
This story, along with one titled ACLU to Honor Connecticut Librarians and John Doe During Seattle Conference, were reprinted at TruthOut.org; both on the same web page. What is most interesting is the revelation that the U.S. federal government appears to hold itself exempt from its own national security regulations; which regulations it violated by identifying one of the librarians involved, who was forbidden by those regulations to identify himself.