URGENT: BILL PENDING IN CONGRESS WOULD BYPASS COURTS FOR SUBPOENAS, ATTACK FOURTH AMENDMENT!
In May 2000, the Council on Domestic Relations warned you about the Methamphetamine Proliferation Act that would authorize federal authorities to enter your home, conduct a search, copy your computer's hard drive, and plant listening devices all without notifying you that you were the target of an investigation. After having that last attack on your Fourth Amendment rights thwarted, it seems the U.S. Justice Department is back for Round 2.
This time the attack is in the form of two bills, one designed to aid in the apprehension of fugitives, the other to provide protection for the President.
S. 2516, The Fugitive Apprehension Act, which was introduced May 8, 2000, has already passed the Senate, and is now in the House Subcommittee on Crime.
The U.S. Marshals Service is the lead federal agency charged with the task of locating and apprehending fugitives. If passed, S. 2516 would provide $40 million to the Marshals Service for the purpose of establishing task forces to locate and apprehend fugitives in federal, state and local felony cases.
But S. 2516 would also be used to bypass the courts for subpoenas. That bill authorizes the Attorney General to issue "administrative subpoenas." Senator Strom Thurmond, the bills main sponsor said, "The legislation would also provide administrative subpoena authority, which would allow investigators to track down leads about wanted persons faster and more efficiently. Currently, the time it takes to get vital information, such as telephone or apartment rental records, through a formal court order can make the difference between whether a fugitive is apprehended or remains on the run."
Rather than being restricted by the legal process of appealing to a court for a warrant, this would give the Justice Department, through its Marshals Service, the ability to issue warrants itself administratively.
Additionally, this bill has now been attached to another piece of legislation. The Presidential Threat Protection Act (H.R. 3048) also contains the administrative subpoena language.
H.R. 3048 gives police broad new powers to issue "administrative subpoenas." These subpoenas can be used to obtain information not just from suspected fugitives, but from innocent third parties, such as business associates or acquaintances, who could be considered witnesses.
The bill would allow police to get administrative subpoenas for your "electronic data," such as bank records, school records, medical data, phone bills, and e-mail account. Police would have the power to compel third parties, such as your bank, telephone company or Internet Service Providers, to turn over your personal records. Under a "delayed notice" provision, police could order third parties to refrain from telling you that your records have been searched and/or seized by the government.
It is urgent for all who are concerned about their liberty to contact your Congressional representative immediately by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at the number below. Tell them to vote NO on the Conference Report on HR 3048, The Presidential Threat Protection Act. Let them know that this is a flagrant attack on your privacy rights, as well as an unconstitutional search, because no court order or search warrant is required. Also, tell them to vote against S.2516, The Fugitive Apprehension Act.
You can also E-Mail your representatives, but please call first! Tell your family and friends and ask them to call. Remember, time is of utmost import. Your freedom is at stake.
Capitol Hill Switchboard