Oregon Senator Reveals Secret Government Surveillance Grid
May 26, 2011
In an interview with Wired, Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, adds yet more confirmation to what many of us have known for years – the government has built a secret surveillance structure far more portentous and dangerous than anything devised by the PATRIOT Act now up for renewal.
Wyden points to the so-called “business-records provision” of the PATRIOT Act which empowers the FBI to force businesses, medical offices, banks and other organizations to turn over any “tangible things” it deems relevant to a so-called security investigation.
“It is fair to say that the business-records provision is a part of the Patriot Act that I am extremely interested in reforming,” Wyden told Wired. “I know a fair amount about how it’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.”
“Surveillance under the business-records provisions has recently spiked,” writes Spencer Ackerman. “The Justice Department’s official disclosure on its use of the Patriot Act, delivered to Congress in April, reported that the government asked the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for approval to collect business records 96 times in 2010 — up from just 21 requests the year before. The court didn’t reject a single request. But it ‘modified’ those requests.