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The House of Representatives agreed to extend a controversial domestic surveillance law this afternoon, but it limited the extension to one month and rejected a carefully brokered compromise from the Senate that had given the law a six-month reprieve. Looks like the Republicans will not get their automatic four year extension as hoped. News from the Washington Post .
The original newspaper source that broke the DHS-ILL monitoring story has a follow-up report today. New quotes include: "The UMass Dartmouth Library has not been visited by agents of any type seeking information about the borrowing patterns or habits of any of its patrons," and, "the student and his parents have made it clear to The Standard-Times that they do not want to discuss what happened." Sounds like the Kerri Dunn case, don't it?
kathleen writes "WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 - Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.--New York Times.
The Washington Post states:
The revelations come amid a fierce congressional debate over reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, an anti-terrorism law passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Patriot Act granted the FBI new powers to conduct secret searches and surveillance in the United States.....Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies at George Washington University, said the secret order may amount to the president authorizing criminal activity...."This is as shocking a revelation as we have ever seen from the Bush administration," said Martin, who has been sharply critical of the administration's surveillance and detention policies. "It is, I believe, the first time a president has authorized government agencies to violate a specific criminal prohibition and eavesdrop on Americans.""
Contrary to the wishes of President Bush and the Executive branch, the Senate has refused to approve the extension of the Patriot Act that recently won victory in the House of Representatives. Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin pictured in this ABC News story lead the filibuster. If an extension is not voted in, the Act in its entirety will expire on the last day of the year, but investigators will still be able to pursue any
investigations begun before that time.
Another longer story in eweek offers several Senators explains for their actions: " "I went to bed last night unsure how to vote on this legislation," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. "Today's revelation that the government listened in on hundreds of phone conversations without getting a warrant is shocking. There ought to be discussion. There ought to be debate."
Calling the secret order an example of "Big Brother run amok," Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., said that more oversight of police powers is needed.
"For past three years this administration has been eavesdropping on hundreds of calls without warrants or oversight," Kennedy said. "This administration feels it is above the law."
Charles Greenberg writes "Yesterday I heard the NPR description of FBI frustrations with getting kicked around by "radical militant librarians" that are aiding terrorism by questioning the provisions of the Patriot Act, having to do with secretly obtaining library circulation records. See the email source for this phrase (paid for with our tax dollars).
Seeing an entrepreneurial opportunity, I have captured one definition of radical militancy on a boutique of active/casualware for one type of radical militant.
Don't forget to view the back of the shirt to see my definition.
It only takes about 20 minutes to set up a site like this, including the graphic.
Unabashedly, all profits go toward future college expenses for two less radical children...."
Cabot writes "The Canadian Press reports that the Government of Canada has drafted a proposal that would allow government departments to immediately cancel a contract with an American firm if it hands personal information about Canadians to U.S. anti-terrorism investigators."
Reuters is one place reporting The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to renew the USA Patriot Act, setting up a showdown with the Senate over a centerpiece of President George W. Bush's war on terrorism.
On a 251-174 vote, the House approved the measure, with supporters saying it would properly balance civil liberties with the need to bolster national security.
But a number of Democrats and Republicans vowed to oppose the legislation in the Senate, which is expected to take up the bill in coming days.
For those of you who want to attempt to affect the vote in the Senate, you might want to check out this call to action from Bookselling This Week (American Booksellers Association), which details how to contact your Senators prior to the Friday vote.
NDP House Leader and Justice Critic Kevin Deveaux is calling on the Minister of Justice, Michael Baker, to release his Department's plans for protecting Nova Scotians who have personal information stored in American data bases - accessible to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. Are Nova Scotians more dangerous than Quakers? Only time will tell.
Meanwhile, the final battle is being fought right now in Washington. Senate Republicans and the Bush administration took the offensive Tuesday against critics of the Patriot Act, saying on the eve of an expected vote that Congress must renew the law for four years. But reauthorization may be hitting snags in the Senate, where some GOP and Democratic senators are dissatisfied with a compromise worked out last week between key Republicans in the House and Senate.
NPR and the NY Times both have reports today on the top secret FISA courts, FBI, and radical, militant librarians. The FBI is whining about "radical, militant librarians." Lets all wear that label proudly! Be sure to contact your senators and representatives in Congress to vote against the compromise bill for renewal of the Patriot Act. It is time to keep our eyes and ears open and let the world know that librarians are a strong group and are radical in our support of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.
Radical, Militant Librarians: from NY Times--
One internal F.B.I. message, sent in October 2003, criticized the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review at the Justice Department, which reviews and approves terrorist warrants, as regularly blocking requests from the F.B.I. to use a section of the antiterrorism law that gave the bureau broader authority to demand records from institutions like banks, Internet providers and libraries.
"While radical militant librarians kick us around, true terrorists benefit from OIPR's failure to let us use the tools given to us," read the e-mail message, which was sent by an unidentified F.B.I. official. "This should be an OIPR priority!!!"
Fang-Face writes "There was an article by Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times, for Sunday 11 December 2005, titled
At FBI, Frustration Over Limits on an Antiterror Law, reprinted at TruthOut.org. In it, Lichtblau reports on how FBI agents are simply twitchy about using S.215. Interestingly enough, it seems to be field agents who are chafing at restrictions administration officials seem reluctant to lift. Lichtblau's allegations of agents wanting to run riot with S.215 are supported by internal FBI e-mails. One e-mail reads in part: "While radical militant librarians kick us around, true terrorists benefit from OIPR's failure to let us use the tools given to us," . . ."