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In recent weeks, the FBI has issued hundreds of "National Security Letters," directing employers, banks, credit card companies, libraries and other entities to turn over records on reporters. Under the USA Patriot Act, those who must turn over the records are also prohibited from revealing they have done so to the subject of the federal probes.
"The significance of this cannot be overstated," says prominent New York litigator Glenn Greenwald. "In essence, while the President sits in the White House undisturbed after proudly announcing that he has been breaking the law and will continue to do so, his slavish political appointees at the Justice Department are using the mammoth law enforcement powers of the federal government to find and criminally prosecute those who brought this illegal conduct to light.
"This flamboyant use of the forces of criminal prosecution to threaten whistle-blowers and intimidate journalists are nothing more than the naked tactics of street thugs and authoritarian juntas."
Just how widespread, and uncontrolled, this latest government assault has become hit close to home last week when one of the FBI's National Security Letters arrived at the company that hosts the servers for this web site, Capitol Hill Blue.
The letter demanded traffic data, payment records and other information about the web site along with information on me, the publisher.
Now that's a problem. I own the company that hosts Capitol Hill Blue. So, in effect, the feds want me to turn over information on myself and not tell myself that I'm doing it. You'd think they'd know better.
I turned the letter over to my lawyer and told him to send the following message to the feds:
Fuck you. Strong letter to follow.