A bipartisan group of senators this week announced the latest in a steady trickle of legislative proposals to trim back some of the enhanced search and surveillance powers granted to law enforcement under the USA-PATRIOT Act. Under the proposed Security and Freedom Ensured Act (SAFE), the FBI would no longer be able to obtain “sneak and peek” warrants allowing them to secretly enter a person’s home or office, except in cases when an overt search would endanger someone’s physical safety, result in a flight from prosecution, or permit the destruction of evidence. Under current law, as modified by USA-PATRIOT, agents can keep a search secret, with a judge’s approval, any time disclosure would seriously jeopardize an investigation or unduly delay a trial. As of April 1st, 2003, the Justice Department had applied for, and received, 47 such warrants. Full Story
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