Feingold: Sneak and Peek is About Drug Cases
Sen Russ Feingold, leading the charge for a filibuster of the Patriot Act renewal legislation, confirms what we suspected all along: The Sneak and Peek provisions of the Patriot Act are about drugs, not terrorism. A Sneak and Peek, if you are new to the jargon, is where a law enforcement agent enters a dwelling surreptitiously with a warrant, snoops around, and leaves without ever notifying the resident that a search has occurred. There has been a 75% increase in sneak and peeks since 2000.
From his prepared statement on the Patriot Act renewal legislation, read on the Senate floor last night:
Don’t be fooled for a minute into believing that this power is needed to investigate terrorism or espionage. It’s not. Section 213 is a criminal provision that could apply in whatever kind of criminal investigation the government has undertaken. In fact, most sneak and peek warrants are issued for drug investigations. So why do I say that they aren’t needed in terrorism investigations? Because FISA also can apply to those investigations. And FISA search warrants are always executed in secret, and never require notice. If you really don’t want to give notice of a search in a terrorism investigation, you can get a FISA warrant. So any argument that limiting the sneak and peek power as we have proposed will interfere with sensitive terrorism investigations is a red herring.
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