Article published in the Washington Post 2007 03 23
It is the policy of The Washington Post not to publish anonymous pieces. In this case, an exception has been made . . . The Post confirmed the legitimacy of this submission by verifying it with the author’s attorney and by reviewing publicly available court documents.
The Justice Department’s inspector general revealed on March 9 that the FBI has been systematically abusing one of the most controversial provisions of the USA Patriot Act: the expanded power to issue “national security letters.” It no doubt surprised most Americans to learn that between 2003 and 2005 the FBI issued more than 140,000 specific demands under this provision — demands issued without a showing of probable cause or prior judicial approval — to obtain potentially sensitive information about U.S. citizens and residents. It did not, however, come as any surprise to me.