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On Patriot at the Prospect

March 3rd, 2010 · 4 Comments

I’ve got a longish piece over at The American Prospect that looks at how the Obama administration worked to kill the National Security Letter reforms that Obama once campaigned on—and even borrowed a page from Bush by retroactively reinterpreting the law to excuse systematic illegal surveillance.

Tags: Privacy and Surveillance · Self Promotion



4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Joseph // Mar 3, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Great article.

    However, I think there may be a minor error.

    “There’s an exception for genuine emergencies, as when an attack is believed to be imminent, but that exception was not invoked and would not have applied to only a tiny fraction of the putatively “exigent” cases.”

    Did you mean “would have applied”?

  • 2 Julian Sanchez // Mar 3, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    WHOOPS! Yes, thanks for catching that.

  • 3 Drew // Mar 8, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I have to admit that I at the very least expected some sort of amnesty for past abuses coupled with some real changes in protocol. I never expected them to simply quietly sign off on the policy with a “well… carry on” attitude.

    I certainly haven’t been starry-eyed about the Obama administration in other areas, but in this case, it seemed like they brought in a lot of legal talent that sincerely was vehemently opposed in principle to continuing these policies. Exactly what it is that won out over those concerns feels like a story still to be written.

  • 4 Julian Sanchez // Mar 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Well, the FBI claims that it doesn’t intend to exploit this new loophole, whatever it is, to obtain records going forward. Which is nice of them to say, but there’s nothing to stop them changing their minds when the OIG isn’t actively poking around.