Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Patriot Act:: Paranoia Vs. Reality

It was a frightening prediction the civil libertarians made. Armed with the Patriot Act, jackbooted federal agents would have free rein roust anyone suspected of terrorism, kicking in doors after midnight, tapping phone lines and rifling through business documents and library records.

Library records! No longer would a three-year-old be able to check out a copy of "The Pokey Little Puppy" without falling under the shadow of the Feds.

Except not, reports National Public Radio.

In a story broadcast yesterday, NPR details how federal agents report finding it extremely hard to obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the body set up in the mid-70s to oversee intelligence-related search and seizure requests and prevent abuses.

The Feds complain that getting requests for warrants through the Office of Intelligenc Policy and Review is nearly impossible -- the office sets exceedingly high standards of proof to ensure that civil rights are protected.

And the number of library records requested under the Patriot Act. Nada. None. Zip. Zilch.

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