Article For Discussion-How Obama has abused the Patriot Act
I’m not endorsing the whole of this article. In fact I’m disappointed it did not specifically exclude certain sources information. The headline is just overblown. But some interesting points remain. So for discussion if you like, please read the whole thing at the link. The fact this man was a key author of the Patriot Act makes this a must read for anyone paying serious attention to the Patriot Act and the recent NSA issues.
I would be a lot more comfortable with the data collection if the use for non terror investigations was prohibited. We do not IMO want this caught up in the war of drugs in any domestic sense. I’m not even sure I like the Patriot Act being used to chase the cartels but admittedly my feelings there are mixed, or maybe just conflicted.
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) has been a member of Congress since 1978 and is the former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He is the primary author the Patriot Act.
Section 215 of the Patriot Act authorizes the collection of certain business records — in this case, phone records — when there are reasonable grounds to believe that the records are relevant to an authorized investigation into international terrorism. The key legal term is “relevance.”
Under this relevance standard, the administration has collected the details of every call made by every American, even though the overwhelming majority of these calls have nothing to do with terrorism. Since first learning of the program this spring, I have been a vocal critic of such dragnet collection as a gross invasion of privacy and a violation of Section 215.
The administration’s memo begins by acknowledging that its interpretation of the statute is at odds with the plain meaning of “relevance.” It argues there is a “particularized legal meaning” of relevance, but it ultimately concedes that it fails to meet this standard as well.
The legal definition grew out of case law related to grand jury subpoenas and civil discovery. In these areas, courts have adopted a somewhat broader concept of relevance, finding that documents can be relevant not only when they directly bear on the subject matter at hand but also when they could reasonably lead to other information that directly bears on that subject matter. Think of it as second-degree relevance.