September 11, 2001

It’s only appropriate that on this anniversary of 9-11, I mention the recent ruling by a New York district court regarding a portion of the revised Patriot Act, a law created to increase American access to enemy intelligence. According to Judge Victor Marrero,  18 U.S.C. Sect. 2709 is an unconstitutional violation of the Fourth Amendment (the search and seizure provisions) and may also violate the separation powers and First Amendment. Sect. 2709 contains a “gag order,” effectively allowing the Federal Bureau of Investigation to approach any entity, inquire about a private individual, and prohibit that entity from advising the individual that he or she was being investigated. 

The story brings to light the inevitable clash between our desire to protect personal privacy and our need to search high and low with procedural ease in order to catch the “bad guy.”

Posted by C. Bekhor


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