Sunday, April 30, 2006

The FBI Not @Your Library

On Friday, the FBI reported to Congress on its use of the Patriot Act during 2005. Among other things, the report revealed that the FBI, as of the end of 2005, has still not used the much-feared Section 215 in a library setting.

The report also revealed that National Security Letters were used to obtain information on 3,501 individuals suspected of possible links to terrorism. An NSL provided the only known instance in which provisions of the Patriot Act were used to gather library-related data. While some will undoubtedly react to this news by claiming that we are on the brink of a police state, I will simply point out two salient facts:

1. All NSLs were obtained in full accord with the law.
2. The total population of the United States, according to the Census Bureau, is over 298 million. 3,501 individuals comprise a fraction of 1 percent of that population.

With America at war against a barbarous enemy who staged the bloodiest ever attack on our homeland and has vowed to kill 4,000,000 of us, I would hope that the FBI is using every legal tool at its disposal to keep us safe.


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