When Law and Politics Don't Mix: Weasel words from Gonzales

Did anyone else see Attorney General Gonzales saying to CNN, in an attempt to brush aside questions about abuse of FBI security letters, that the letters had been around "long before I became AG" ? Then shortly thereafter I see in the Denver Post that use of national security letters has grown exponentially since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. "In 2005 alone, the audit found, the FBI issued more than 19,000 such letters, amounting to 47,000 separate requests for information." Here's more about what these letters are:
The letters enable an FBI field office to compel the release of private information without the authority of a grand jury or judge.

The USA Patriot Act, enacted after the 2001 attacks, eliminated the requirement that the FBI show "specific and articulable" reasons to believe that the records it demands belong to a foreign intelligence agent or terrorist.

That law, and Bush administration guidelines for its use, transformed national security letters by permitting clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies.

Now the bureau needs only to certify that the records are "sought for" or "relevant to" an investigation "to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities."
Amid some pretty credible claims that these letters are being abused under Gonzales he has the nerve to say they were around long before his watch. A classic case of weasel words.

No comments:

Post a Comment