Sunday, March 24, 2013

No more asking for permission to speak about the government

The Patriot Act permits FBI agents to write their own search warrants and gives those warrants the patriotic and harmless-sounding name of national security letters (NSLs). This authorization is in direct violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which says that the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects from unreasonable searches and seizures, and that that security can only be violated by a search warrant issued by a neutral judge and based upon probable cause of crime.

When FBI agents serve the warrants they’ve written for themselves – the NSLs as they call them – they tell the recipient of the warrant that he or she will commit a felony if he or she tells anyone – a lawyer, a judge, a spouse, a priest in confessional – of the receipt of the warrant. The NSLs are typically not served on the person whose records the FBI wants; rather, they are served on the custodians of those records, such as computer servers, the Post Office, hospitals, banks, delivery services, telephone providers, etc.

Because of the Patriot Act’s mandated silence, the person whose records the FBI seeks often never knows his or her records have been seized. Since October 2001, FBI agents and other federal agents have served more than 350,000 search warrants with which they have authorized themselves to conduct a search. Each time they have done so, they have warned the recipient of the warrant to remain silent or be prosecuted for telling the truth about the government.

Last week in San Francisco, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Illston held that the section of the Patriot Act that prohibits telling anyone about the receipt of an FBI agent-written search warrant and the section that requires asking and receiving the permission of the FBI before talking about the receipt of one profoundly and directly infringe upon the freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment. And the government knows that.



Anonymous said...

Something good coming out of San Francisco! Amazing.

Anonymous said...

Remember, the FBI, like (all) other law enforcement agencies, is simply doing what the elected lying crooks that YOU elected are telling them to do. Does blaming the messenger make us feel less guilty and stupid for electing, and reelecting, those who make the messages?

Anonymous said...

The prediction of "1984" comes true in 21st century USA.

Anonymous said...

If anyone has actually arrested a person for speaking out about a warrant he recieved, it would be just to arrest the arresting officer, even if he really believed that the law allowed such an arrest. He still knew that he was arresting someone for speaking out about a warrant he recieved. That officer needs jail time.

Anonymous said...

Hell! What about due process?! The left always make everything about the first since they know they'll loose on the rest. They even knee-jerk when it's the wrong arguement but the right verdict.