July 11, 2005 | By Derek Slater

NYT: Expanding PATRIOT Act Unnecessary; Original Is Bad Enough

In May, EFF reported on the stealth attempt to expand the PATRIOT Act. That attempt continues, despite the public outcry. In an editorial published today, The New York Times slams the FBI's continued pursuit of dangerous, unnecessary subpoena powers:

"When the FBI. wants access to private records about an individual, it ordinarily needs to get the approval of a judge or a grand jury. The proposed new administrative subpoena power would allow the FBI to call people in and force them to produce records on its own authority, without approval from the judicial branch. This kind of secret, compelled evidence not tied to any court is incompatible with basic American principles of justice. It would also make it far easier for the FBI to go off on fishing expeditions."

"The bill would allow the FBI to order that the subpoenas be kept secret. That means record holders, like banks or employers, would not be able to inform the person whose private information was being handed over. It would also make it difficult for Congress, and the public, to know whether the FBI was abusing its enormous new powers."

Soon Congress will consider allowing these subpoenas. If you haven't yet, now is the time to let your representative know that you want PATRIOT reform, not expansion.


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