Submitted by Blake on December 8, 2005 - 9:46pm
AP Is Reporting House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement today to extend the USA Patriot Act, the government's premier anti-terrorism law, before it expires at the end of the month. But a Democratic senator threatened a filibuster to block the compromise. Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., announced that the negotiating committee had reached an agreement that would extend for four years two of the Patriot Act's most controversial provisions authorizing roving wiretaps and permitting secret warrants for books, records and other items from businesses, hospitals and organizations such as libraries. Those provisions would expire in four years unless Congress acted on them again.
Submitted by Anna on November 22, 2005 - 4:34am
Pete writes "Stuart Carlson of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, offers his take on the Patriot Act."
Submitted by Hermit on November 18, 2005 - 12:51am
News is reporting that six senators will try to block passage of the
Patriot Act because it's renewal is not including minimal protections for
civil liberties by requiring a judge to review the secret warrants the
FBI is using to force libraries and other institutions to provide patron
and customer information to the government law enforcement agency. The
Senators also complained the law does not include forcing the government
to tell American citizens within seven to 30 days that their homes or businesses
were secretly searched.
The six American Senators wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary committee
and Senate Intelligence committee about their concerns. The three Republicans,
Larry Craig (Idaho), John Sununu (New Hampshire) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska),
and the three Democrats, Dick Durbin (Illinois), Russ Feingold (Wisconsin)
and Ken Salazar (Colorado), had previously sponsored some of the changes
that provided the modest civil liberties that are now being removed in
a House-Senate ironing out of the Patriot Act renewal.
Submitted by Blake on November 16, 2005 - 6:15pm
The AP Reports House and Senate negotiators struck a tentative deal on the expiring Patriot Act that would curb FBI subpoena power and require the Justice Department to more fully report its secret requests for information about ordinary people, according to officials involved in the talks.
The agreement, which would make most provisions of the existing law permanent, was reached just before dawn Wednesday. But by mid-morning GOP leaders had already made plans for a House vote on Thursday and a Senate vote by the end of the week. That would put the centerpiece of President Bush's war on terror on his desk before Thanksgiving, more than month before a dozen provisions were set to expire.
Submitted by Blake on November 15, 2005 - 12:29pm
American Bar Association President Michael S. Greco Has written a Letter [PDF] to congressional leaders. He outlined his organization's concern over three specific provisions of the act under consideration by the House that the ABA feels are overly broad, undermine constitutional protections and give too much leeway to intelligence agencies collecting information. The letter follows earlier statements by the group that the legislation is "offensive" to democracy.
Submitted by Blake on November 10, 2005 - 12:33pm
Congress edged closer yesterday to limiting some of the sweeping surveillance and search powers it granted to the federal government under the USA Patriot Act in 2001, including a provision that would allow judicial oversight of a central tool of the FBI's counterterrorism efforts, according to Senate and House aides. More From The Washington Post.
Submitted by Blake on November 7, 2005 - 4:13pm
kathleen writes ""Barton Gellman,Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, November 6, 2005 reports: The FBI came calling in Windsor, Conn., this summer with a document marked for delivery by hand. On Matianuk Avenue, across from the tennis courts, two special agents found their man. They gave George Christian the letter, which warned him to tell no one, ever, what it said. Under the shield and stars of the FBI crest, the letter directed Christian to surrender "all subscriber information, billing information and access logs of any person" who used a specific computer at a library branch some distance away. Christian, who manages digital records for three dozen Connecticut libraries, said in an affidavit that he configures his system for privacy. But the vendors of the software he operates said their databases can reveal the Web sites that visitors browse, the e-mail accounts they open and the books they borrow.
Submitted by Blake on November 3, 2005 - 1:44pm
The New York Times has coverage of a panel of federal judges in Manhattan who raised questions yesterday about secrecy provisions in the nation's antiterrorist act, expressing concerns that the act indefinitely silences those swept up in investigations.
The judges did not immediately rule on the matter. But by their questions, the judges seemed skeptical of arguments by a Justice Department lawyer who said it was within constitutional limits for the government to prevent recipients of such requests from ever speaking about them.
"The troubling aspect from my standpoint is it's without limit," Senior Judge Richard J. Cardamone said while questioning the government's lead lawyer, Douglas Letter, about the nondisclosure provision in what is known as the USA Patriot Act. "There's no end to how long you have to keep this secret."
Submitted by rochelle on October 9, 2005 - 2:50pm
Submitted by Blake on October 6, 2005 - 11:46am
The Associated Press reports Some of the nation's most powerful business groups are splitting with the Bush administration over whether to restrict the anti-terror USA Patriot Act.
The business groups complained to Congress on Wednesday that the Patriot Act makes it too easy for the government to get confidential business records. That put them at odds with one of President Bush's top priorities â€” the unfettered extension of the law passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Submitted by Blake on October 4, 2005 - 4:31pm
The AP reports the Supreme Court was asked Monday to let libraries speak out about FBI demands for their records in a case involving the Patriot Act anti-terrorism law.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the emergency appeal, on behalf of an anonymous client, but the paperwork is censored and gives few details.
Submitted by rochelle on September 25, 2005 - 11:14pm
Here's a commentary from a mom who, while in theory likes that her local library takes patron privacy seriously, feels a bit put out by not being able to find out what her minor-aged sons have checked out.
as much as I'm not a big believer in the ''it takes a village'' approach to raising children, I think I'd welcome the well-timed call from my local librarian should he or she deem something on my son's check-out record a little ... curious. Like if one of my kids were checking out his 19th book about fertilizer, pipes and detonating devices in the last three weeks. Is that an ''extenuating circumstance?''
More from Mcall.com. (Allentown, PA)
Submitted by Blake on September 21, 2005 - 12:30pm
The Reader's Shop writes "The New York Times reported on Monday that the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan agreed to a temporary stay of a lower court ruling that would have allowed a member of the American Library Association to participate in the debate about the Patriot Act.
In the case, the FBI sent a Conn. library consortium a national security letter demanding that it turn over patron information and not disclose the request publicly.
The ACLU is arguing for the consortium in the case. Ann Beeson, the lead lawyer for the ACLU called the ruling "extremely frustrating" but also says she takes some comfort from the appellate court's promise to expedite the appeal."
Submitted by Blake on September 17, 2005 - 1:35am
The Reader's Shop writes "The Stamford Advocate reports
that federal prosecutors appealed a federal judge's decision to lift a gag order on librarians who received an FBI demand for records about library patrons under the Patriot Act.
The appeal, filed in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, will be considered by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
See Also Newsdayt"
Submitted by Blake on September 13, 2005 - 11:44am
Submitted by Amke on September 12, 2005 - 8:43pm
This story comes from the Star Ledger in NJ about the Associate Director, Karen Avenick, at South County Regional Library System and when the Police called on the library on October 12, 2001 to demand library records and several computers.
Submitted by Blake on September 12, 2005 - 3:41pm
An Anonymous Patron points to a An AP Piece that reports a federal prosecutor said Two of the Sept. 11 hijackers used a public-access computer at a New Jersey college library to buy tickets for the plane they seized and crashed into the Pentagon.
Ken Wainstein, U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, made the disclosure Thursday during a congressional hearing in which the Bush administration pushed for renewal of provisions of the Patriot Act that make it easier for investigators to obtain library and other records.
Submitted by Blake on September 9, 2005 - 10:37pm
The Associated Press reports A federal judge lifted a gag order Friday that shielded the identity of librarians who received an FBI demand for records about library patrons under the Patriot Act.
U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued that the gag order prevented their client from participating in a debate over whether Congress should reauthorize the Patriot Act.
Submitted by Blake on September 8, 2005 - 6:19pm
The Grand Rapids Press Reports The City Council on Tuesday rejected a resolution expressing concern with sections of the federal Patriot Act.
The resolution was proposed by the city's Human Relations Commission and on put on the agenda Wednesday by Councilman David Hoekstra.
The council rejected the resolution 5-2, with only the 6th Ward councilman Hoekstra and Councilman At-Large Jerome Kobes voting in favor. Mayor Al McGeehan and 2nd Ward Victor Orozco were absent.
Submitted by Blake on September 8, 2005 - 6:18pm
Gazette Newspapers - Long Beach,CA, Reports Long Beach has joined a growing list of cities that have officially opposed portions of the United States Patriot Act.
Tuesday night, the City Council unanimously voted to send a letter in support of a State Senate resolution urging the government to repeal some recently extended parts of the Patriot Act to "ensure that civil liberties are protected."