Monday, March 12, 2007

FBI & Patriot Act

Exhibit "A" for why we need a robust reading of the Constitution's protection of individual rights to protect us from government: the reports last Friday about the FBI improperly using the USA Patriot Act to obtain information about people and businesses.

Turns out that the FBI mismanaged and in some cases illegally used the Patriot Act's "national security letter" process allowing the government to obtain records from Internet service providers, banks, credit companies and other businesses without a judge's approval.

Even if the mistakes were the honest result of human error, as the FBI insists (dubious, with the failed Attorney General Alberto Gonzales at the helm of the Justice Department, to which the FBI reports), this incident points out the hazards of a law allowing the government the power to act outside the bounds of judicial supervision, and offers all the more reason why we must scrupulously defend freedom from being nibbled away by legislation such as the Patriot Act.

By: Michael Anthony Lawrence