December 15, 2005

RUSS FEINGOLD is offering some pretty compelling reasons to oppose the Patriot Act renewal legislation. Read the whole thing, but this excerpt is telling:

Let me make one final point about sneak and peek warrants. Don’t be fooled for a minute into believing that this power is needed to investigate terrorism or espionage. It’s not. Section 213 is a criminal provision that could apply in whatever kind of criminal investigation the government has undertaken. In fact, most sneak and peek warrants are issued for drug investigations. So why do I say that they aren’t needed in terrorism investigations? Because FISA also can apply to those investigations. And FISA search warrants are always executed in secret, and never require notice. If you really don’t want to give notice of a search in a terrorism investigation, you can get a FISA warrant. So any argument that limiting the sneak and peek power as we have proposed will interfere with sensitive terrorism investigations is a red herring.

As I say, read the whole thing. (Via Jacob Sullum, who observes: “Now even the senators who haven’t bothered to read the legislation cannot credibly pretend to believe this law enforcement wish list is all about fighting terrorism.”)

Here, by the way, is what I wrote on September 11, 2001:

It’s Not Just Terrorists Who Take Advantage: Someone will propose new “Antiterrorism” legislation. It will be full of things off of bureaucrats’ wish lists. They will be things that wouldn’t have prevented these attacks even if they had been in place yesterday. Many of them will be civil-liberties disasters. Some of them will actually promote the kind of ill-feeling that breeds terrorism. That’s what happened in 1996. Let’s not let it happen again.

Yeah, I can call ’em.

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