Friday, August 26, 2005

What's On Your Bookshelf?

The FBI wants to know.

BushCo. has repeatedly stated that it has never used the section of the USA Patriot Act to peek at what Americans are reading. But we all knew it would only be a matter of time.

Using its expanded power under the antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act, the F.B.I. is demanding library records from a Connecticut institution as part of an intelligence investigation, the American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday.

The demand is the first confirmed instance in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation has used the law in this way, federal officials and the A.C.L.U. said. The government's power to demand access to library borrowing records and other material showing reading habits has been the single most divisive issue in the debate over whether Congress should extend key elements of the act after this year.
Not only was this request made without judicial review, as allowed by the Patriot Act, the "institution" served with this request (we're not even allowed to know whether this is a library or a book store) is not allowed to tell anyone that it happened.

The best thing we can do, other than making sure to voice your displeasure with such unconstitutional intrusions into our freedom of speech, is to make sure that your book shelf contains at least one copy of everything on the FBI's trigger list. Of course that list is also classified, so we'll have to guess. I'm thinking things like "The Anarchist Cookbook," but I'm sure my readers can come up with others. Leave your recommedations for the "FBI's Most Wanted Reading List" in the comments. I'll make sure to publish the list in a future post.

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