NORML's Allen St. Pierre pointed me to this passage from a prepared statement that Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) made last night in opposition to the PATRIOT Act renewal bill:
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 arent 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.
Given Feingold's filibuster threat, his colleagues presumably were paying attention. 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.