Friday, March 23, 2007

I am now going to scare the crap out of you.

While you were out we redecorated your office and abolished the First and Fourth Amendments--An excerpt from John Murrell's "Good Morning Silicon Valley" and linked to the original in the Washington Post. The Post has verified this is accurate. Just out of curiousity, whatever happened to the First Amendment and why isn't the correct answer to the FBI gag order something in the order of "up yours?" [I had something else in mind but children might wander by.] The Post said it published the op-ed piece anonymously despite its rules not generally to do so. Good for them.

"Three years ago, I received a national security letter (NSL) in my capacity as the president of a small Internet access and consulting business. The letter ordered me to provide sensitive information about one of my clients. There was no indication that a judge had reviewed or approved the letter, and it turned out that none had. The letter came with a gag provision that prohibited me from telling anyone, including my client, that the FBI was seeking this information. Based on the context of the demand -- a context that the FBI still won't let me discuss publicly -- I suspected that the FBI was abusing its power and that the letter sought information to which the FBI was not entitled. ... I resent being conscripted as a secret informer for the government and being made to mislead those who are close to me, especially because I have doubts about the legitimacy of the underlying investigation."

-- An anonymous businessman describes the gagged life; between 2003 and 2005 the FBI issued more than 140,000 such letters.

The person involved heroically took the FBI to court with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, essentially telling them to shove it. The FBI responded by withdrawing the request for information but keeping the gag order, which I would think is unconstitutional on its face.

Oh, arragh.

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