An FBI Agent Gets To Decide What I Can't Talk AboutKevin Drum at Washington Monthly
highlights a Washington Post article
about National Security Letters. Drum posts the excellent graphic which should be reproduced as a poster and plastered in public places. Here's my marked up version:
(Click on the image for a larger version.) (Update
: I made the clicked-on version even larger.)
To summarize: under the Patriot Act, the FBI can present entities--individuals, libraries, companies, non-profits, universities, hospitals, banks--with a letter--a secret letter! that the presentee can never metnion to anyone ever again!--requiring them to share records they have about a person's banking, purchasing, correspondence and reading. They can then collect that information and keep it forever. The person they are collecting information on never need be informed (indeed, cannot be informed!) and does not need to be any kind of foreigner or terror suspect.
Naturally the thing that immediately catches my eye is that if you get served with one of these letters you can't tell anyone. Ever. Which might explain why we have no substantial allegations of misconduct or misuse. (Today's Genius Award goes to Sen. Pat Roberts, (R) Kansas.)Then there's this--no judge, jury, or even prosecutor need be involved in issuing a letter that causes your private information to divulge--just an FBI bureaucrat. The information doesn't get deleted. The information can be shared with private entities. And you may never know that it's been collected.
Right. Go read the article