- "You are under arrest."
- "For what?"
- "It's a secret. You have already been tried and
- "By who?!?!?"
- "It's a secret. You are going to be executed at
- "Yeah. I'll bet you wish you didn't do whatever
it is you did."
- "Wait! Don't YOU know?"
- "No one knows. It's a secret law."
- SEN. WYDEN DECRIES "SECRET LAW" ON PATRIOT
- An amendment offered on May 24 by Sen. Ron Wyden would
have challenged the Administration's reliance on what he called "secret
law" and required the Attorney General to explain the legal basis
for its intelligence collection activities under the USA PATRIOT Act. But
that and other proposed amendments to the PATRIOT Act have been blocked
in the Senate.
- "The public will be surprised... when they learn
about some of the interpretations of the PATRIOT Act," Sen. Wyden
said, based on his access to classified correspondence between the Justice
Department and the Senate Intelligence Committee.
- "U.S. Government officials should not secretly reinterpret
public laws and statutes in a manner that is inconsistent with the public's
understanding of these laws or describe the execution of these laws in
a way that misinforms or misleads the public."
- "We can have honest and legitimate disagreements
about exactly how broad intelligence collection authorities ought to be,
and members of the public do not expect to know all of the details about
how those authorities are used," Sen. Wyden said. "But I hope
each Senator would agree that the law itself should not be kept secret
and that the government should always be open and honest with the American
people about what the law means."
- But the Senate moved toward cloture on reauthorization
of the PATRIOT Act provisions and the Wyden amendment, which was co-sponsored
by several Senate colleagues, was not permitted to be offered or to be
- The House Judiciary Committee issued a report last week
on the reauthorization of surveillance provisions in the USA PATRIOT Act,
with a lengthy dissent from the minority members of the Committee. See
"FISA Sunsets Reauthorization Act of 2011," House Report 112-79,
part 1, May 18, 2011:
- In 2008, then-Sen. Russ Feingold chaired a Senate Judiciary
Committee hearing on "Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and
- Copyright (C) 2011, Thomas C. Burnett, all rights reserved.
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