The "library records" provision of the so-called Patriot Act could also be known as the "gun records" provision, because it also allows the FBI to seize the forms you use to buy guns.
This infamous provision, Section 215, is a direct assault on your Fourth Amendment rights because it allows the FBI to obtain personal information about you, without a warrant and without your knowledge.
Section 215 is set to expire in May, along with two other provisions. But Congress will probably renew these provisions unless it hears from YOU.
You may borrow from or copy this letter . . .
The FBI already had powerful tools to combat terrorism before the Patriot Act. The FISA court would allow the FBI to obtain records of suspected terrorists from motels, car rental agencies, storage facilities, and similar businesses.
But the Patriot Act's Section 215 dangerously broadens this power. Now, the FBI can . . .
* Merely claim, without providing ANY evidence, that the information it seeks is "relevant" to a terrorism investigation
* Acquire personal information on anyone, including U.S. citizens not suspected of terrorism (or any other crime)
* "Gag" institutions and businesses so they can't tell people they are being investigated
* Obtain even the most private information, such as emails, medical records, library history, and gun purchase forms
Section 215 violates not only the Fourth Amendment, but also the First and Second Amendments. The federal government has no business knowing what I read or how many guns I own.
The Justice Department's own Inspector General has found that the FBI uses Section 215 powers tens of thousands of times per year, mostly targeted at innocent Americans.
This makes me suspect that the real purpose of Section 215 isn't to protect me, but instead to allow the FBI to spy on, intimidate, and blackmail people it doesn't like, just as it did in the J. Edgar Hoover days.
If you don't want to be compared to J. Edgar, then don't allow the FBI the power to invade the privacy of innocent Americans. Oppose renewal of Section 215. Instead, repeal the Patriot Act!
Assistant Communications Director