New York Times Sues Justice Dept. over Secret Patriot Act Memo
Monday, October 17, 2011
The New York Times is suing the U.S. Department of Justice to find out what the Obama administration has been keeping secret regarding the Patriot Act.
After filing Freedom of Information Act requests and getting nowhere, the newspaper decided on a lawsuit in order to obtain details about the government’s “secret” interpretation of the controversial law that was established after the September 11 attacks.
In May, the Times published a story about the Patriot Act’s reauthorization. During debate about the legislation, Democratic Senators Mark Udall of Colorado and Ron Wyden of Oregon mentioned the existence of secret elements in the law and tried unsuccessfully to push through an amendment requiring disclosure of the hidden information. At the time, Wyden said, “I want to deliver a warning this afternoon: When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry.” Although himself sworn to secrecy as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, he did express particular concern about the provision (section 215) that allows the FBI to force businesses, medical offices, banks, libraries and other organizations to turn over any “tangible things” it deems relevant to a security investigation.
N.Y. Times Sues Justice Department (by Burgess Everett, Politico)
New York Times v. U.S. Department of Justice (U.S. District Court, New York) (pdf)
What is Obama Keeping Secret about the Patriot Act? (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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