Under the Patriot Act, the FBI can acquire bank records and Internet or phone logs simply by issuing itself a so-called national security letter saying the records are relevant to an investigation into terrorism. The FBI doesn't need to show probable cause or consult a judge. What's more, the target institution is issued a gag order and kept from revealing the subpoena's existence to anyone, including the subject of the investigation.
The new provision in the spending bill redefines the meaning of "financial institution" and "financial transaction." The wider definition explicitly includes insurance companies, real estate agents, the U.S. Postal Service, travel agencies, casinos, pawn shops, ISPs, car dealers and any other business whose "cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax or regulatory matters."
Those jerks. Remind me to tell my congresscritter to stick his hand in a live piranah tank because it's "patriotic". "If you pull your hand out before it's nothing but skin and bones, you're not really an American!"Posted by Ted Stevko at November 24, 2003 09:00 PM | TrackBack