Mitch Wagner has a good post on further abuses of the Patriot Act, and other derelictions. So far, the one that most alarms me is Mark Rasch’s column about one of the Justice Department’s recent flings. Forgive me if you’ve already heard about it; I’ve been away:
Mark Rasch, former head of the Justice Department’s computer crime unit, writes about the U.S. government threatening to subpoena all the records of some of the reporters who wrote about accused hacker Adrian Lamo. The government is forbidding the reporters from telling anyone about the subpoenas — presumably including their own attorneys and editors.Naturally, one is curious as to whether the Justice Department intends to thus subpoena the journalists who were leaked the name of an undercover CIA agent.“Citing a provision of the Patriot Act, the FBI is sending letters to journalists telling them to secretly prepare to turn over their notes, e-mails and sources to the bureau. Should we throw out the First Amendment to nail a hacker?” The FBI sent letters to a “handful” of reporters who wrote about accused hacker Adrian Lamo — whether or not they interviewed Lamo. “The letters warn them to expect subpoenas for all documents relating to the hacker, including, apparently, their own notes, e-mails, impressions, interviews with third parties, independent investigations, privileged conversations and communications, off the record statements, and expense and travel reports related to stories about Lamo.” The FBI “has threatened to put these reporters in jail unless they agree to preserve all of these records while they obtain a subpoena for them under provisions amended by the USA-PATRIOT Act.”
“The government also officiously informed the reporters that this is an ‘official criminal investigation’ and asks that they not disclose the request to preserve documents, or the contents of the letter, to anyone — presumably including their editors, directors, or lawyers — under the implied threat of prosecution for obstruction of justice.”
Mitch has more to say. Have a look.