RealNews

ACLU Was Forced to Revise Release on Patriot Act Suit

When a federal judge ruled two weeks ago that the American Civil Liberties Union could finally reveal the existence of a lawsuit challenging the USA Patriot Act, the group issued a news release. But the next day, according to new documents released yesterday, the ACLU was forced to remove two paragraphs from the release posted on its Web site, after the Justice Department complained that the group had violated court secrecy rules. One paragraph described the type of information that FBI agents could request under the law, while another merely listed the briefing schedule in the case, according to court documents and the original news release. The dispute set off a furious round of court filings in a case that serves as both a challenge to, and an illustration of, the far-reaching power of the Patriot Act. Approved by Congress in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the law gives the government greater latitude and secrecy in counterterrorism investigations and includes a provision allowing the FBI to secretly demand customer records from Internet providers and other businesses without a court order. Full Story

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