National Security Letters Violate Privacy March 14, 2007


One of the most dangerous provisions in the so-called Patriot Act permits the FBI to use national security letters, which allow the Bureau to obtain vast amounts of personal information on American citizens without a warrant or subpoena. Subjects of national security letters are not told that they are under federal scrutiny.

More than 30,000 national security letters are issued annually. A recent random sample of fewer than 300 discovered widespread abuses of the practice that compromised the privacy of innocent people.

The Bush administration has promised to punish the Bureau. But the fault lies with President Bush himself. When he signed the Patriot Act renewal about a year ago, Bush used a presidential signing statement to nullify a provision requiring him to report to Congress on the FBI's use of its expanded surveillance powers.

While not exempting the FBI's leadership from blame, the national security letters scandal illustrates the need to repeal the so-called Patriot Act. It also adds to the growing case for the impeachment of President Bush.

Let us stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

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