Chris Soghoian writes:
According to two Democratic Senators, the Department of Justice has secretly reinterpreted a controversial provision contained in the USA Patriot Act to give the government surveillance powers that are “inconsistent with the public’s understanding of these laws.” The senators also accuse DOJ of misleading the American public when describing the use of this legal authority.
This disclosure builds on previous cryptic statements from DOJ officials regarding the use of “Section 215” powers for “sensitive collection program,” and Senator Russ Feingold regarding repeated abuses of Section 215 that he was not permitted to publicly describe.
Read more on slight paranoia.
These revelations, and the serious concerns they raise about whether our government is – once again – engaging in warrantless domestic surveillance programs that the public would be up in arms about – require more transparency on the government’s part as to how it is interpreting and using Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.
They also raise serious concerns about why members of Congress are going along – like sheep – with reauthorization of the PATRIOT Act provisions instead of protecting civil liberties. The DOJ has seemingly informed our elected representatives of something that our own elected representatives are now sworn to keep secret from us?
What the hell kind of republic are we running, anyway?