Alarm and confuse

The Washington Post’s page-one story on the USA PATRIOT Act is a classic of the genre: “Fierce fight over secrecy, scope of law.” A few provisions of the act allow law enforcement authorities, after they have demonstrated the existence of probable cause to believe that specified crimes have been committed and secured a warrant, to conduct searches and delay notification to the party searched where notice would impair the investigation.
Referring to the controversy over these provisions, the Post states that “the paradox of this debate is that it is playing out in a near-total information vacuum,” but this observation applies much more aptly to the Post story itself than it does to the act. Not a single word in the story explains the operative provisions of the act or the protections incorporated in them. Why bother when you can quote a congressman eloquently condemning a completely unrelated provision of the act, “I just feel that it’s intrusive.” Heavy!

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