Using the Patriot Act to Get Reporters' Records

Yes, Ashcroft is using the Patriot Act to subpoena reporters' records. Elaine Cassel over at Civil Liberties Watch reports:

The FBI has sent out letters to reporters who wrote about the [Adrian] Lamo case. The letters warn that subpoenas under the USA Patriot Act will be forthcoming for all of their notes, emails, interviews, content of conversations and investigations, and expense and travel reports related to stories they wrote about Lamo. The journalists are ordered to preserve these records for three months, this in spite of the fact that the articles were written a year ago.

Using the Patriot Act for forthcoming subpoenas is an effort to circumvent journalists’ privilege of preserving confidential sources under the First Amendment. Furthermore, reporters who talk to anyone—including their editors or lawyers (!) about the subpoenas will be subject to criminal prosecution under the Act. The gag order that violates the 1st Amendment right of speech, the 5th Amendment right to due process, and 6th Amendment right to counsel.

For more on Adrian Lamo, known as the 'homeless hacker" go here. For more on subpoenas to reporters, go here.

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