Newspaper sues government to reveal 'secret' Patriot Act interpretation

Newspaper sues government to reveal 'secret' Patriot Act interpretation

Summary: The New York Times is suing the federal government in a bid to reveal how the Patriot Act is interpreted and used by law enforcement.


The New York Times is suing the U.S. government for refusing to divulge how its law enforcement interprets the Patriot Act.

After a series of Freedom of Information requests were declined to reveal the classified interpretation of the Patriot Act -- a description that Senators Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) and Mark Udall (D-Colorado) described as "deeply disturbing" -- the newspaper sought to battle it out in the courts.

Some months ago, it was found that the Patriot Act was being interpreted by government departments in a way to aid their ongoing investigations, leading to calls that there was a "classified" element to the counter-terrorism law.

The two senators, members of the Senate intelligence committee, have access to the secret interpretation of the law, but are bound by secrecy laws and cannot disclose it publicly. They believe that how law enforcement interprets the Act greatly differs from how the general public believe the federal government interprets the law; leading to the vast majority of the public not knowing how the law is actually used.

The New York Times is specifically looking for the section of the Act which allows the U.S. law enforcement to order the "production of any tangible things" on "reasonable grounds", relating to international terrorism or counter-intelligence operations.

The argument stems that the interpretation the government uses is classified; whereas the newspaper believes a law should not be hidden from sight, and the government should not refuse to say how it actions its own laws.

The Patriot Act is a controversial post-9/11 counter-terrorism law, where it was recently discovered also has reach across to Europe and further afield. The European Parliament is investigating the charge that the U.S. government can access cloud-stored data in Europe.

The full suit can be found below. [PDF]


Topics: Government US, Government

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  • Basicly

    Writ of Habeus Corpus: non-existent.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • RE: Newspaper sues government to reveal 'secret' Patriot Act interpretation

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate

      Give 'em an inch...
  • Secret laws are the final steps to a police state

    Like the unlimited detentions and closed tribunals where witnesses and testimony are kept secret, the authorities in the US increasingly operate in a mode that permits no oversight, and with no consequences for wrongdoing. Even the public laws on the books are often ignored when it suits the police or government to do so.<br><br>From an IT perspective, it put us in a difficult position. My company has had to respond to several different government actions, including one where agents showed up and physically seized equipment without any prior notice. We've had to add "seizures" to our list of possible scenarios in our disaster recovery plan. And we've had to go through legal training on how to respond to FSL's (hint: do what they tell you to or get arrested).
    terry flores
  • Standing

    New York Times has no standing to make the claim as they are not an "injured party". this will be dismissed before it is heard.
    Your Non Advocate
    • RE: Newspaper sues government to reveal 'secret' Patriot Act interpretation

      @facebook@... You don't need to be an injured party to to make an FOIA request.
    • RE: Newspaper sues government to reveal 'secret' Patriot Act interpretation


      Look again - they filed FOIA requests which were summarily denied. They do, indeed have standing
  • You, I and every US citizen is the &quot;injured party&quot; here.

    How much longer do we tolerate a secretive nanny state that is bent on controlling everything?

    As if I needed yet another reason to support the only honest man running for president, the 13th floor of the hotel.
  • Repeal the Patriot Act

    <a href="" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"></a><br><br>"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Fourth Amendment to the Constitution<br> <br>Forty-five days after 9/11, Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act without reading it. This new law was supposed to protect you from terrorism, but it has really left you unprotected against lawless federal agents. The Patriot Act contains numerous violations of the Fourth Amendment. It gives federal agents vast new powers that have been abused to investigate innocent Americans.<br><br>In 2001 and 2006 concerned members of Congress urged expiration dates on some of the Patriot Act's most controversial powers. Regrettably, Congress has constantly renewed these powers, despite a multitude of FBI abuses. Last year, it was done with a voice vote!<br><br>The vast powers provided in this bill are explained in detail on this campaign's Background page. They include . . .<br> Roving wiretaps, where you can be caught in a phone sweep, without specific warrant<br>The infamous "library provision," where The State can monitor your reading habits, even if you have no connection to terrorism<br>National Security Letters, a tool used instead of warrants, whereby the FBI can spy on you, and the service providers who share your private info can't tell you about it<br>Provisions that require banks to report your financial activities to federal agents<br> <br>This is only a partial list of the many ways the so-called Patriot Act violates your Constitutional rights.<br><br>Everyone agrees that terrorists should be caught and stopped. But before 9/11, the federal government already had powerful tools of intelligence-gathering and investigation to prevent terrorism.<br> The failures of intelligence before 9/11 were NOT addressed by the Patriot Act. Moreover,<br>Before 9/11 there were also constitutional checks and balances to protect your liberty and privacy. Under the Patriot Act, those checks and balances are gone.<br>In fact, the Justice Department's Inspector General has reported that between 2003 and 2006, the FBI issued nearly 200,000 NSLs. The Inspector General has also found serious FBI abuses of the NSL power.<br> <br>In conclusion . . .<br> The Patriot Act should not have been passed because it violates the Constitution.<br>The Patriot Act would not have prevented 9-11, and it is NOT needed to combat future terrorist acts.<br>The Patriot Act has been constantly abused, in spite of the usual worthless political promises that it would not be.<br>The Patriot Act should be repealed.<br> <br>Use the form at right to send your elected representatives a letter about this issue. It's easy!<br>Your position will be counted by each Congressional office,<br>Will educate the Congressional staffer who reads it,<br>May be passed up the chain of command,<br>May receive a reply (many DC Downsizers get them). If you receive such a letter, please share it with us at

    Our government has become lawless!

    There is an Amendment process for changing the Constitution and it is the lawful means for accomplishing same. But some rights come from God and are inalienable or so believed our ancestors.
  • RE: Newspaper sues government to reveal 'secret' Patriot Act interpretation

    how it is possible for any law to be unknown ?
  • RE: Newspaper sues government to reveal 'secret' Patriot Act interpretation

    "Ignorance of the Law is no excuse". We have all heard this before.Now we have laws that are illegal to know.