Quote:"You think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden says itâ€™s worse than you know.
One prominent Patriot-watcher asserts that the secret interpretation empowers the government to deploy â€dragnetsâ€ for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.
Weâ€™re getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says, when youâ€™ve got that kind of a gap, youâ€™re going to have a problem on your hands.â€
What exactly does Wyden mean by that? As a member of the intelligence committee, he laments that he canâ€™t precisely explain without disclosing classified information. But one component of the Patriot Act in particular gives him immense pause: the so-called â€œbusiness-records provision,â€ which empowers the FBI to get businesses, medical offices, banks and other organizations to turn over any â€œtangible thingsâ€ it deems relevant to a security investigation.
â€œIt is fair to say that the business-records provision is a part of the Patriot Act that I am extremely interested in reforming,â€ Wyden says. â€œI know a fair amount about how itâ€™s interpreted, and I am going to keep pushing, as I have, to get more information about how the Patriot Act is being interpreted declassified. I think the public has a right to public debate about it.â€
the government is relying on secret interpretations of what the law says without telling the public what those interpretations are. wonderful, we wont know if we've broken a law till we wake up in prison.