Opposition Grows to Obama’s Refusal to Reveal Secret Patriot Act Powers
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
(graphic: Irregular Times)
Congressional Democrats, the media and civil libertarians are continuing their fight with President Barack Obama over his administration’s secret interpretations of the Patriot Act.
Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado, who sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder last week claiming a classified intelligence operation based on the Patriot Act interpretation is not as critical to national security as the administration says.
Wyden and Udall also wrote that Americans would be “stunned” if they knew what the government was really doing based on the legal theory being employed through the Patriot Act. In October, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) said that the government’s use of “Section 215 is unfortunately cloaked in secrecy. Some day that cloak will be lifted, and future generations will ask whether our actions today meet the test of a democratic society: transparency, accountability, and fidelity to the rule of law and our Constitution.”
The Department of Justice has insisted that revealing anything about the secret spy program could “cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”
Federal lawyers are trying to dismiss two lawsuits, one by The New York Times and the other by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that seek to force the administration into disclosing how the Patriot Act has been interpreted.
To Learn More:
Democratic Senators Issue Strong Warning About Use of the Patriot Act (by Charlie Savage, New York Times)
Letter to Eric Holder (Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall)
New York Times v. Department of Justice (U.S. District Court, Southern New York) (pdf)
Civil Liberties Groups Add to Lawsuits against Justice Dept. over Secret FBI Patriot Act Power (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)
What is Obama Keeping Secret about the Patriot Act? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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