Police Using Controversial Patriot Act Authority for ‘Everyday’ Cases: Civil Liberties Group

Law enforcement has been using provisions of the Patriot Act to conduct routine investigations, not fight terrorism, the EFF found. (Photo:Office of Public Affairs/flickr/cc)

thedailysheeple.com / by Nadia Prupis via Common Dreams / November 1st, 2014

Created under the guise of fighting terrorism, ‘Sneak and Peek’ now being used to spy on drug suspects, immigrants, rights group finds.

A contentious surveillance provision of the Patriot Act, which allows law enforcement to conduct searches while delaying informing the suspect, is broadly used, but almost never in terrorism cases—despite Justice Department officials arguments to the contrary, according to an analysis by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

“Yet again, terrorism concerns appear to be trampling our civil liberties,” writes EFF’s Mark Jaycox.

The rights group analyzed federal reports from 2011, 2012, and 2013, released after an unexplained three-year delay, on warrants that were issued under Section 213, known colloquially as “Sneak and Peek.”

Out of more than 11,000 requests for those delayed-notification searches in 2013, a grand total of 51 were used for terrorism cases, EFF found. Almost all of the other Sneak and Peek warrants went to drug investigations.

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