President-elect Barack Obama's nominee for attorney general has endorsed an extension of the law that allows federal agents to demand Americans' library and bookstore records as part of terrorism probes, dismaying a national group of independent booksellers.
Eric Holder said at his confirmation hearing Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee that he supports renewing a section of the USA Patriot Act that allows FBI agents investigating international terrorism or espionage to seek records from businesses, libraries and bookstores. If not renewed by Congress, the provision will expire at the end of 2009.
The searches must be authorized by a court that meets secretly and has approved the government's requests in nearly all cases, according to congressional reports. The target of the search does not have to be suspected of terrorism or any other crime. A permanent gag order that accompanies each search prohibits the business or library from telling anyone about it.
Wow, that's a big change from the last bunch. I really like the Democrats supporting the bit about ...
The target of the search does not have to be suspected of terrorism or any other crime.
Of course, if anyone is really surprised about this, remember that the Democrats voted almost unanimously for the Patriot Act that put this into law in the first place. The Democrats always talk like they oppose this stuff, but they always, repeat ALWAYS, support it when it really comes up for a decision.