A true story written anonymously in a Letter to the Editor in the Washington Post by a receipient of a National Security Letter (NSL), carrying a gag order with a penalty of five years in jail for telling even his girlfriend. The country: Post-11 USA.
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Of note: The secrecy in which NSL's are wrapped makes it possible for the FBI to clamp down on free speech so secretly that even Congress doesn't know about it. No wonder we Americans believe we still have free speech left!
~FBI agents require no judicial review (under the Patriot Act) to send out NSL's (subpoenas for private medical, internet/phone and other records)
~The only requirement is "an authorized investigation" and without judicial intervention, basically the FBI are "self-certifying that they are acting in good faith" (law professor Stephen Schulhofer, "Liberty Under Attack")
~Gag orders placed on receipients assure secrecy, as do the five-year jail sentences for anyone who speaks up that they were served with an NSL
~Prior to 9-11 NSL's were extremely rare, less than twenty per year. Since 9-11 (and the passage of the Patriot Act) suddenly the figures jumped to 143,000 in a 3-year period between 2003-2005. That's 993 NSL's per week, of which 53% were for Americans (born and naturalized alike) and the rest for racial profiling subjects.
Only ONE terrorist has been caught since 9-11 as a result of NSL's, writes former FBI agent and now ACLU Counsel Mike German. (That statement was made about 18 months ago: If more have been caught since then, I am not aware of that fact so please don't hold me responsible!)
See how abuses occur once any loophole is granted? Those who say that the upcoming Thought Crimes Bill "has little teeth in it" and "very little room for enforcement" (a grassroots leader actually wrote this to me!) are sooooooo wrong. Give them a tiny loophole and they will take thousands of miles. People are capable of light and dark alike: Denial forgets that fact.
"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with the power to endanger the public liberty". ---John Adams
PLEASE WRITE THIS TO YOUR GRASSROOTS LEADERS NOW! BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE US LIBERALS TO BE PEALING ALARM BELLS. THEY ARE WRONG! I AM POSTING THIS LETTER ABOUT THE NSL AND THE ABUSE STATISTICS TO PROVE THE POINT. Thank you!