How secret is the Patriot Act? So secret the ACLU had to redact the public version of a lawsuit it filed against it. An excerpt from a Washington Post story as reprinted in the no-reg Houston Chronicle:
The lawsuit was filed April 6 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, but the case was kept under seal to avoid violating secrecy rules contained in the USA Patriot Act, the ACLU said. The group was allowed to release a redacted version of the lawsuit after weeks of negotiations with the government.
The ACLU's lawsuit alleges that a section of the Patriot Act is unconstitutional because it allows the FBI to request financial records and other documents from businesses without a warrant or judicial approval. The group also says such requests, known as "national security letters," are being used much more broadly than they were before the Patriot Act.
The ACLU's complaint focuses on the use of national security letters to obtain information held by "electronic communication service providers." The group says the letters could force Internet providers to turn over customers' names, screen names, e-mail addresses and other information without notice to the individuals involved.
For more on this, including access to the redacted complaint, go here on the ACLU's Web site.