What Wouldn't You Believe About the Patriot Act?


Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado think you'll be shocked by things they know about the Patriot Act's enforcement that you don't, reports the New York Times:

The senators, who also said that Americans would be "stunned" to know what the government thought the Patriot Act allowed it to do, made their remarks in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. after a Justice Department official last month told a judge that disclosing anything about the program "could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States."

The Justice Department has argued that disclosing information about its interpretation of the Patriot Act could alert adversaries to how the government collects certain intelligence. It is seeking the dismissal of two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits — by The New York Times and by the American Civil Liberties Union — related to how the Patriot Act has been interpreted.

The senators wrote that it was appropriate to keep specific operations secret. But, they said, the government in a democracy must act within publicly understood law so that voters "can ratify or reject decisions made on their behalf" — even if that "obligation to be transparent with the public" creates other challenges.

"We would also note that in recent months we have grown increasingly skeptical about the actual value of the 'intelligence collection operation,' " they added. "This has come as a surprise to us, as we were initially inclined to take the executive branch's assertions about the importance of this 'operation' at face value."

The dispute centers on what the government thinks it is allowed to do under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, under which agents may obtain a secret order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court allowing them to get access to any "tangible things" — like business records — that are deemed "relevant" to a terrorism or espionage investigation.

There appears to be both an ordinary use for Section 215 orders — akin to using a grand jury subpoena to get specific information in a traditional criminal investigation — and a separate, classified intelligence collection activity that also relies upon them….

The letter from Mr. Wyden and Mr. Udall also complained that while the Obama administration told Congress in August 2009 that it would establish "a regular process for reviewing, redacting and releasing significant opinions" of the court, since then "not a single redacted opinion has been released."

Secrets, secrets, secrets about the secrets, and secret programs to protect secrets about the secrets whose existence we know a little bit about–this is your most transparent administration ever.

The senators'  full letter.

Reason on Patriot Act Section 215.

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  1. OT, but surfing this site with an Android phone is a pain in the penis. That is all.

    1. Clearly the answer is to get rid of your penis.

      1. sage is just using a euphemism. He doesn’t have a penis, just a very large clitoris (not really that large, even, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings).

        1. How do we even know sage is a “he”? Perhaps it’s a libertarian chick (lol) who is imagining that her problem is akin to the pain we feel occasionally in our penises (except for Warty & SF, who feel it constantly).

          1. If sage would just install Dolphin browser, that pain in his vulva would stop.

            1. I’ll assume “dolphin browser” is an actual thing and not just something you’re making up as part of your sick ocean-mammal fetish.

              *sigh* I have to get a new computer because my 7-yr old one finally crapped out, and I’m lost when listening to people rattle off off the crap on all the ones they sell now. I really need to stop being such a luddite about these things.

              1. The Flying Spaghetti Monster helps those who help themselves, Jimbo.

                I custom designed my own with these guys, and they built it. Much less of a pain in the ass than buying the parts off Newegg and building it yourself, and vastly more choice over individual components than somewhere like HP or Dell.

                Probably too advanced for a computer dumbass like you, though. Dumbass.

                1. I’ve been going on craigslist and searching for “gaming computer”. Sounds dumb for someone who is so computer illiterate, but I do a fair amount of PC gaming, and couldn’t get Shogun TW II to run on my last machine, which is what finally killed it.

                  Anyway some chicoms that run a computer shop near here are selling one a guy brought in to them to repair, and then couldn’t pay the bill, for $500, so I’m probably just going to get that. The chinaman assures me it can play any game out there.

                  1. Yeah, Jim, I wouldn’t buy that until they prove, right in front of you, that it can “play any game out there”. My three year old laptop can play any game out there too…at really low graphics settings that look like shit.

                    If you do a lot of gaming on the PC, buy a real computer, or at least verify what’s in the $500 machine. I put together a pretty retarded box using Cyberpower for just over $700, and got free shipping.

                    1. Well maybe they said, “Can’t play any game out there.” My Chinese is weak at best. I told my wife she has to come with me to the store to make sure they aren’t calling me something nasty that I’m not picking up on.

            2. Epi, how much space does that browser need?

              1. I don’t know. Why? Are you running out of space? It can’t be much. Just get Dolphin HD and shut the hell up.

                1. All right I’ll try it. Fuck you.

                2. No no no, what he needs to do is install a cracked version of Debian and recompile all of his libraries to be C++ compatible!

                  Lol, n00b, “install a browser”, indeed.

            3. Now would be a good time to remind the world that there are people who are actively working on getting Apple’s Safari browser working on Linux.


              The world is full of madness.

                1. Ew. Why?

                  I told you.

                  “The world is full of madness”

                  1. I will be sure to keep that far away from my Linux boxes.

                    1. I think Epi blew a seal.

                    2. A Kip Addotta reference?!? Dude, I am impressed.

                      And just fix the damn thing and keep my private life out of it, OK pal?

                    3. Oh, hell yeah, Epi… I listened to Dr. Demento rather religiously back in the 80’s.

                      Seems kinda cheesy by today’s standards, but fuck today’s standards.

                    4. Fish Heads!

              1. An Apple product on Linux via a Windows emulator. Interesting thought experiment, I guess, but why in the hell would you do that?

          2. Whenever I have an ache, I try to find someone to massage it.

      2. But it looks so good on me. So I’ve been told.


          1. This is like the worst chat room ever.

            1. Where’s the philosophy?!

              1. It left the building…just like Michigan’s basketball team.

                Hahahahahaha! Fuck Michigan!

    2. “Civilization [city-Statism] originates in conquest abroad and repression at home.” ~Stanley Diamond, In Search of the Primitive, A Critique of Civilization, page 1, first sentence

      WI sez: advocates of civilization should expect more city-Statism, good and hard.

      WI wonders: Think they’ll ever learn, after 10,000 years of the same shit?

      WI ponders: Nope, they’re too domesticated now. Small brains are a marker of domestication in all domesticted species. It’s the way the domesticators get docile behavior that conforms to city-Statism (civilization) requirements.

      If Modern Humans Are So Smart, Why Are Our Brains Shrinking?…..-shrinking

      1. Why don’t you try actually reading that article.

        It is all pure conjecture, admittedly so, and even then the “worst” of the posibilities they describe isn’t even seen as a negative by their own admission.

        1. Ignore the cracker chief. He masturbates to anarcho-primitivism, and is a crackpot. Farming is Good. City is Good. The State is Good. All hail the gambol lockdown!

      2. HaHaHa!

      3. I wonder why dicks are so yummy?

      4. Penises are yummy.

      5. Except you, of course. You are so much smarter then the herd. Why? Because you are cracker chief.

        Cracker chief says: Civiilization is what I say it is.

        Cracker chief wonders: if it lasted 10,000, it must be wrong.

        Cracker chief ponders: No, I’m a throwback to a barbaric time, and my ideas are irrelevent.

    3. I agree. The only answer is to threaten to ruin the Reason Cruise if they don’t change the site back. Or install a different browser on your Android.

    4. Change your user agent and you will see the full site.

  2. What’s going on, Brian? What happened to hump hump hump?

    1. Your wife’s at his house.

    2. Arf! Arf! Arf!

      1. Yip! Snap! Nip!

  3. Kevin Trudeau said it best. ‘Patriot Act’ is an oxymoron. It should be called the Nazi Act, the Fascist Act, the Stalin Act, or the Hitler Act.

    1. Well, doublespeak anyway.

    2. God Damn you, Brian, you can’t get away with that shit!

    3. Kevin Trudeau, really?

  4. “Secrets, secrets, secrets about the secrets, and secret programs to protect secrets about the secrets whose existence we know a little bit about–this is your most transparent administration ever.”

    Wanna bet whether it’s a crime to even ask about those secrets^n?

    1. Laws are secret. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.


      You are under arrest, for doing something we can’t tell you about. I’m sure you’ll get a fair trial.

      1. One of the things that Westerners used to ridicule about the Soviet Union was their secret laws, many even argued during the CW that secret laws were contrary to the entire concept of rule of law.

        Ironic, isn’t it?

      2. I’m sure you’ll get a fair trial.

        “”Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, not judicial process.”

        Fair trials are so 20th Century.

  5. that disclosing anything about the program “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”

    This is almost the exact wording used to define information as TS.

    So, if Holder’s department is going to argue that, the entirety of the PATRIOT Act better fucking be portion marked and redacted appropriately in any iterations online. So, too, must any policy directives that they mention.

  6. …this is your most transparent administration ever.

    Obama is a cipher, wrapped in an enigma, smothered in secret sauce.

    1. And the secret sauce is Miracle Whip.
      It always is.

      1. A black man and Mayo? Even if it’s fake mayo, that doesn’t sound likely.

        1. Dunno, but after long years of study of many groups, including gambolers, *every* secret sauce is Miracle Whip.
          Oh, and gambolers steal it from the agris, while claiming it’s their invention.
          See: 27th of 95 wild claims by somebody or other.
          Published by Whacko Press.

    2. you will get George Clooney in a lather.

  7. The Operative: Secrets are not my concern. Keeping them is.

    1. This is a good death.

      1. Do you know what your sin is, Mal?

        1. Ah Hell… I’m a fan of all seven. But right now… I’m gonna have to go with wrath.

  8. Yip! Snap! Nip!

  9. It’s all okay, the act is only used against icky Tea Party terrorists, dirty Muslims and out-of-control OWS pukes. Obama promised us at the last fundraiser.

  10. So I just fished Sloopy’s NCAA notes out of my spam filter. Damn you, Ken – I told you my kids picked that bracket. I basically asked my 3-year-old questions like “Number 1 or number 16?” I used the team names with my 5-year-old – she’s the one who really liked Davidson.

  11. Ohio is getting ready to beat scUM. I repeat: OHIO UNIVERSITY IS ABOUT TO BEAT THOSE FUCKS FROM MICHIGAN.

    1. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      [catches breath]
      Now, let’s go Lehigh!!!

      1. Alcohol kicking in, Schmoopy?

        1. No, this is pure, unenhanced joy.


          1. Whoa. How’d you get all those “i”s to go green?

            1. It’s cause I’m so fucking Money!

              1. This is like the best chat room ever!

                1. Yes it most certainly is.

                  My bracket is destroyed. Hell, everyone’s bracket is destroyed. But it’s all worthwhile since the Antichrist of basketball (Duke) and the worst university in the fucking world (scUM) both embarrassed themselves in front of the entire world.

                  1. Go ‘Cuse.

                    That is all.

                  2. The worst part is that now shrike is leading.

                  3. the Antichrist of basketball (Duke)

                    Why must you hate Ron and Rand Paul?

                  4. I had to work late tonight in a most disagreeable way after a long week.

                    These two things (Duke and scUM losing) made it all better. My wife thinks I’m crazy to be so giddy.

                    Duke sucks.

                    1. Yes, we weren’t that good this year. As a long time Duke fan and Durham resident, I’m quite pleased with this year, given how poor my expectations were for this year. Very young team, too much dependence on the three pointer.

                      Still proud of the overall program, even if most people would prefer to root for the schools with the larger public subsidies. I can certainly understand them disliking all the bandwagon fans that are out there, though.

                    2. Are you forgetting another reason for the DukeHate?

                      How about the way the school treated the la crosse players?

                      Where was Coach K?

                    3. JT,
                      That is a nice speech for a LOSER, loser. Duke sucks. That is all.

                      Go (Kentucky Wild)cats!

          2. Good news for my Patriot League.

  12. I am happier seeing Duke lose in the opening round than I would be if I won a frickin’ 5 figure pool.


    1. fapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfapfap

  14. If only Kansas can lose my week would be complete.

  15. I want to reply to every Henry Winkler tweet with “Aaay”

    1. When Howard says, “Hi, Bob!” I want to tweet, “Drink!”


    2. PS
      This H. Upmann…is making me…thirsty!

      1. Try some pretzels, guy.

  16. fapfapfapfap[squirt]

  17. So what happens if this secret court denies a request for from the state. do they appeal to some super secret appeals court?

  18. Here we go LIU-Brooklyn, Here we go *clap clap*

  19. The Boston Bruins have tanked since Tim Thomas snubbed Obama

  20. disclosing anything about the program “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security”

    “The program” being, of course, the ObamaCare hearings.

  21. Secret rulings on secret interpretations of secret laws regarding activities by secret agencies operating secret programs engaged in secret intelligence gathering.

    And this is not about the ranting of somebody like Alex Jones but, rather, a complaint by two of the few US Senators privy to it all.

    Yes, indeed, Obama’s is the most transparent administration ever!

    Read the Senators’ letter:

  22. In related developments:

    “The CIA wants to spy on you through your TV: Agency director says it will ‘transform’ surveillance”

    Read more:…..z1pLJHZ9pk

  23. “This has come as a surprise to us, as we were initially inclined to take the executive branch’s assertions about the importance of this ‘operation’ at face value.”

    I am still chuckling over this weaselly politician’s imitation of Captain Renault: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

  24. All who support the patriot act should be sent to the gallows.

  25. Threadjack.

    The dawn of Big Brother. Seriously!…..lance.html

  26. Ah, I see Cato beat me to it.

  27. “”that are deemed “relevant” to a terrorism or espionage investigation.””

    Or drug investigations. Narco-terrorism. Or any other (insertword)-terrorism.

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