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IP: More on you should be outraged ... [I know I am djf] -- [from 10/13/98]
From: Dave Farber <farber () cis upenn edu>
Date: Thu, 24 Dec 1998 15:08:38 -0500

Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 16:03:10 -0600
To: farber () cis upenn edu
From: Stephen Haynes <haynesmn () ix netcom com>

Dear Dave -

Remembering back to October and the outrageously expansive wiretap
provisions in the 1999 Intelligence Authorization Act about which you
alerted us, following is the text of a letter received today from Senator
Paul Wellstone in response to my message of concern to him:

"Dear Mr. Haynes:

"Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns about the provision
in the Fiscal Year 1999 Intelligence Authorization Act which expands the
FBI’s ability to use ‘roving wiretap’ orders, allowing the FBI to tap any
phone which is proximate to the subject of an investigation. I appreciate
hearing your views on this issue. 

"As you may know, this provision, which appears in Section 604 of the
Intelligence Authorization Act, did not appear in either version of the
bill that passed the House or the Senate. It was added to the bill during a
House and Senate conference without hearings or debate. The Provision’s
expansion of the roving wiretap authority is broader than the formulation
Congress rejected just two years ago in the context of the 1996
antiterrorism legislation. I believe this provision will have the effect of
weakening citizens, civil liberties and may well be unconstitutional. 

"According to the Fourth Amendment ‘no warrants shall issue, but upon
probable cause … and particularly describing the place to be searched.’ Our
founding fathers included this amendment for the purpose of protecting
citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement
officials. Prior to the enactment of the new provision, the federal wiretap
statute required that each wiretap application specifically identify the
location of the phone where the communication was to be intercepted except
in instances where law enforcement officials could prove that the person
whose communications were being intercepted had as his or her purpose to
‘thwart interception by changing facilities’. 

"Section 604 of the Intelligence Authorization Act deletes the ‘Purpose to
thwart’ requirement and allows wiretaps to intercept all communications
made by a particular person, regardless of what telephone the suspect may
use. This includes the phones in the private residences of a suspect’s
friends, neighbors and business associates. People who inadvertently use or
call into these phones, and have nothing to do with the criminal
investigation, may have their privacy invaded as well. In effect, a
‘no-privacy zone’ could follow a suspect wherever he goes. 

"I was disappointed that this provision was added to the Intelligence
Authorization Act at the last minute. This provision unjustifiably expands
the government’s power at the expense of our civil liberties. While I
recognize the need for our law enforcement officials to conduct
investigations to help protect our nation against terrorist activity, we
must balance investigatory powers with our constitutional right of privacy.
Under this provision, citizens’ Fourth Amendment rights protecting against
illegal searches will be eroded. 

"Be assured that I will support efforts to modify this ill-conceived
provision once the 106th Congress convenes in January. 

"Again, thank you for contacting me. I hope you will continue to keep me
informed on issues of importance to you. 


[signed ‘Paul’]

"Paul David Wellstone 
"United States Senator"

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  • IP: More on you should be outraged ... [I know I am djf] -- [from 10/13/98] Dave Farber (Dec 24)
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