Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Today's abuse of anti-terror law

Imagine this: you're an FBI agent, working a tough case. Things would be so much easier if you could obtain the target's phone records, but for that you need some probable cause - which you don't have.

No problem: just create a fictitious "terror alert", and hey, presto, thanks to the power of the USA PATRIOT Act, they're yours, no questions asked.

FBI Agents did this in over 2,000 cases between 2002 and 2006. By doing so, they broke the law, committed a crime. And they didn't just do it to criminals - they also used false allegations of terrorism to get the phone records of journalists, likely in an effort to find out who was leaking embarrassing information about the government's conduct in the war on terror.

Do we really need any more examples of why we should not give law enforcement these sorts of powers?