Permanentizing the Patriot Act


The Wash Times reports on the House's vote "last night to make most provisions of the USA Patriot Act permanent." Story here.

The Times' print edition (but not on its Web site), contains a useful graphic of the act's most "contentious sections." The table lists four sections of the act and the number of times they have been used (based on ACLU and Justice Dept. documents):

Section 206, which sanctions roving wiretaps and has been used 49 times as of April;

Section 213, which allows law enforcement to do a search and notify the target after the fact and has been used 155 times as of January. The Times notes that 90 percent of the cases didn't involved terrorism-related issues, that the average delay in notifying targets was between 30 to 90 days, and that in six of the cases notification has been withheld indefinitely.

Section 215, which allows law enforcement to get records about someone from a third such as a bank or library and bars the actual target from ever knowing the search took place. This has been used 35 times as of April (though never for library records so far).

Section 505, which expands the use of National Security Letters, which allow the FBI to get records without judicial approval if the feds assert the info is "relevant" to an intelligence investigation. DOJ says they've done this but refused to discuss the matter.

Check out Reason's interview with Fox News Channel's resident civil liberties bulldog, Judge Andrew Napolitano, for more info, feedback, and acid-reflux. It's online here.