ACLU vs. PATRIOT Act

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Reader Ken Schultz asks, "Please tell me you?re going to run a thread on this?"

The this in question is a WashPost story:

ACLU Was Forced to Revise Release on Patriot Act Suit
Justice Dept. Cited Secrecy Rules
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 13, 2004; Page A27

When a federal judge ruled two weeks ago that the American Civil Liberties Union could finally reveal the existence of a lawsuit challenging the USA Patriot Act, the group issued a news release.

But the next day, according to new documents released yesterday, the ACLU was forced to remove two paragraphs from the release posted on its Web site, after the Justice Department complained that the group had violated court secrecy rules.

One paragraph described the type of information that FBI agents could request under the law, while another merely listed the briefing schedule in the case, according to court documents and the original news release.

Whole thing here.

NEXT: Corruption

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  1. The first rule of PATRIOT Act is: you do not talk about PATRIOT Act. The second rule of PATRIOT Act is …”

  2. There is no Patriot Act. Anybody who says otherwise is in violation of the Patriot Act.

  3. Looks like the paragraph they had stricken is common knowledge. Sort of like the Tagabu paper that DOD employees can’t look at.

    What crap.

  4. anybody got email/password for the Post link?

  5. always try

    plastic/plastic for username/password
    then try
    fark/fark

  6. Baylen,

    Let’s see, assuming they made their decision based on a court order, they either go to jail for contempt of court or they continue to challenge issue in court while redacting the language. Furthermore, as these are attorneys we are talking about, they could be censured, etc. by their state bar, which could mean an end to their practice potentially. They lost a battle (though not even that – given the publicity that the the government’s actions has given this) and they continue to fight the war. What you want them to commit themselves to is phyrric victories.

    BTW, can you give me an example where the Institute for Justice has defied a court order, and one of their members has been thrown in jail for contempt?

  7. Hey Baylen, maybe the ACLU-ites don’t want to get thrown in jail without access to lawyers or fresh air.

  8. “To me the real story here isn’t the PATRIOT Act or Ashcroft but the ACLU backing down.”

    I won?t fault the ACLU for backing down in the face of a court order, but I bet they weren?t the ones that asked for the gag rule. So not only can the Justice Department acquire private information without a court order but they can also make public information secret with a court order as well?

    Not satisfied with censoring television and radio, the Bush administration is stooping to censor the ACLU? Pastor Niem?ller?s admonition springs to mind immediately. We already seem to be pretty far down his list; who came after the free speech advocates again? I forget.

    Ashcroft and the Bush Administration are the real story here. They?re the ones who brought about the Patriot Act, they?re the ones fighting this suit, and they?re the ones who motioned to have public information suppressed. I hope that every voter who thinks that free speech and fair play and public accountability are important hear about this before they decide who to vote for.

  9. I stick by my comments. A court order that squelches free-speech rights can and must be challenged. I didn’t even suggest that anyone at ACLU (or IJ) commit – gasp!! – an act of civil disobedience. Just that they defend their speech rights to the fullest extent possible, especially in the face of this administration’s attack on same.

  10. If you know any lawyers willing to volunteer, Baylen, just contact the ACLU and let them know.
    In the meantime, I think they’re doing what they can. Check out this link:

    http://www.aclu.org/SafeandFree/SafeandFree.cfm?ID=15543&c=262

  11. Baylen,

    “I didn’t even suggest that anyone at ACLU (or IJ) commit – gasp!! – an act of civil disobedience. Just that they defend their speech rights to the fullest extent possible, especially in the face of this administration’s attack on same.”

    Well, that’s what they are doing.

  12. It used to be that I would do a sarcastic “Come on folks, we’re at war here!” post in threads related to the Patriot Act so that I could be sarcastic.

    Pretty soon I’ll be obligated under the law to post such a message, because criticism of the Patriot Act will be illegal under the Patriot Act, so the only thing left to me will be pro-Patriot Act postings. 🙂

  13. So does anyone have a copy of the un-censored press release?

    Google cache?

  14. thoreau: Be careful with those pro-Patriot Act postings, too; you could get in trouble for telling people what it authorizes.

  15. From what I can tell this is the redacted text.

    “The provision under challenge allows an FBI agent to write a letter demanding the disclosure of the name, screen names, addresses, e-mail header information, and other sensitive information held by ‘electronic communication service providers.’ “

  16. The government isn’t doing itself any favors with moves like this.

  17. To me the real story here isn’t the PATRIOT Act or Ashcroft but the ACLU backing down. How can they just cave in to the government’s wishes? Is it possible that the ACLU needs an organization with principles and a spine like the the Institute for Justice to represent their right to free speech?

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