FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Secret Subpoenas and the Patriot Act

Last year, hacker extraordinaire Adrian Lamo broke into The New York Times web site. For his trouble, he faces a two-count federal indictment in New York, unauthorized access of a computer and unauthorized possession of “access devices” (LexisNexis database passwords).

Don’t cry for Lamo, but cry for how the FBI and the Department of Justice are using the USA Patriot Act–surprise!– to threaten journalists and obtain data under the USA Patriot Act.

The FBI has sent out letters to reporters who wrote about the Lamo case. The letters warn that subpoenas under the USA Patriot Act will be forthcoming for all of their notes, emails, interviews, content of conversations and investigations, and expense and travel reports related to stories they wrote about Lamo. The journalists are ordered to preserve these records for three months, this in spite of the fact that the articles were written a year ago.

Using the Patriot Act for forthcoming subpoenas is an effort to circumvent journalists’ privilege of preserving confidential sources under the First Amendment. Furthermore, reporters who talk to anyone_including their editors or lawyers (!) about the subpoenas will be subject to criminal prosecution under the Act. The gag order that violates the 1st Amendment right of speech, the 5th Amendment right to due process, and 6th Amendment right to counsel. .

The demand that journalists preserve their notes is being made under

laws that require ISP’s and other providers of electronic communications services to preserve, for example, e-mails stored on their service, pending a subpoena, under a statute modified by the USA-PATRIOT Act.

You thought the USA Patriot Act was just to be used to prosecute “terrorism”? Wrong! The Patriot Act was an Executive branch power grab that took place in an atmosphere of hysterical reaction to the September 11 hijackings. Ashcroft seized the day, while the Congress slept. The dirty little secrets of the extent of the Administration’s intentions for the law are only just now coming to light.

More than likely, you won’t know when the law is being used against you. We only know about these subpoenas because a Wired News reporter reported that the FBI contacted him, no doubt trying to get the word out before the gag order kicks in. Secret subpoenas, secret evidence, secret trials. That’s patriotism today.

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teachers law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime’s dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net

 

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail