Friday, February 10, 2006

Patriot Act Compromise

A compromise regarding provisions of the Patriot Act was reportedly worked out between the White House and Congress yesterday. According to the North County Times, "The changes, worked out over several weeks of talks, specifically with the office of White House counsel Harriet Miers, covered three main areas:

Under the first, recipients of court-approved subpoenas for information in terrorist investigations would have the right to challenge a requirement that they refrain from telling anyone.

The second removes a requirement that an individual provide the FBI with the name of an attorney consulted about a National Security Letter, which is a demand for records issued by administrators.

The third clarifies that most libraries are not subject to National Security Letter demands for information about suspected terrorists."

The Washington Post provides more details on the library provision. "The proposal would restrict federal agents' access to library records, one of the Patriot Act's most contentious provisions. A form of secret subpoena known as a National Security Letter could no longer be used to obtain records from libraries that function "in their traditional capacity, including providing basic Internet access," [New Hampshire Senator] Sununu and others said in a statement. But libraries that are 'Internet service providers' would remain subject to the letters, [Illinois Senator] Durbin said."