Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Patriot Act Powers

The Patriot Act had provisions that were set to expire December 31, 2005. If you didn't follow the debate over the extension too closely, it got really interesting when Wisconsin Republican James Sensenbrenner (chairman of the House Judiciary Committee) effectively rebuffed a six-month exntion of the Act that the Senate had approved. Sensenbrenner appeared to have been concerned that the current reauthorization of 16 provisions in the Act do not contain sufficient civil liberty protection.

EPIC (The Electronic Privacy Information Center) filed a FOIA request last year. They received few documents from the request until a federal district judge ordered the FBI to produce 1500 documents every 15 days. Read more about this here.

According to a report on

"The previous batch of documents, delivered shortly before Christmas, show that the FBI's office of general counsel had sent to the Intelligence Oversight Board several complaints about agents' snooping activities. The board is comprised of three members, is housed in the White House and reports to the president.

Some of the complaints relate to how agents tracked their targets. One complaint, for example, showed concern over the tracking of a suspect's telephone calls. The agent continued the tracking even after someone other than the suspect started using the phone, said Marcia Hofmann, director of EPIC's open government project.

Another document shows that an FBI agent received an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that allowed him to access addressing information on a suspect's e-mails, but he ultimately accessed more information in the e-mails than allowed by the court."

EPIC does a great job utilizing FOIA. However, some of the records that have been released to them are not very helpful due to censoring. For example, a document about the number of NSA Letters is entirely blacked out. Although, I suppose it gives you an idea of how many there have been since the report is apparently 6 pages of a single spaced list.

Categories: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home