Udall and Wyden Complain About Misleading Patriot Act Surveillance Reports
U.S. Senators Mark Udall and Ron Wyden have written this letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, accusing the Justice department of "making misleading statements about the legal justification of secret domestic surveillance activities that the government is apparently carrying out under the Patriot Act."
Wyden and Udall have been raising this issue about Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which allows the Government to obtain business records, for months.
[T]he senators contend that the government has also interpreted the provision, based on rulings by the secret national security court, as allowing some other kind of activity that allows the government to obtain private information about people who have no link to a terrorism or espionage case.
They want DOJ to release the legal interpretations they are relying on to enforce the provision. [More...]
[T]here are secret legal opinions controlling how Patriot Act is being interpreted — it’s just that they were issued by the national security court.
“In our judgment, when the legal interpretations of public statutes that are kept secret from the American public, the government is effectively relying on secret law,” they wrote.
DOJ says the law isn't secret, and it's okay to have secret interpretations. The Senators say secret interpretations of public laws render the laws secret.
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