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The CDR/Sweet Liberty Web Site was the first on the Internet to post the story about the justice department's efforts to pass a bill that would attempt to gut your fourth amendment rights.  We have now learned that these Bills have been killed.  However, before you breathe too easy, keep in mind that they will likely return later.  We must remain on guard to preserve our liberty.  Please note that the most recent additions are at the bottom of the list.

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Secret Search Bills Now Pending in Congress!

The Department of Justice (DOJ) lobbyists are on the verge of successfully sneaking into law a provision which would authorize federal agents to stealthily enter people's homes, search the homes, then leave without telling anyone!

The secret searches measure is so outrageous, that it would have no chance of being enacted as a bill on its own, when subjected to public scrutiny and debate.

So instead, the DOJ has nestled the secret search item deep inside a long bill, dealing with methamphetamines.  The measure is further disguised with the innoculous little title of Notice: Clarification.

Subject to virtually no public discussion, the secret search item has already passed the Senate, hidden inside the methamphetamine giant bill, S. 486.

H.R. 2987 is the house version of the Senate bill and also contains the buried clause on secret searches.  The languge is in Section 6.

The Bills can be viewed at the Thomas Legislation Search Engine.  Go to the site and type in the numbers H.R. 2987 and go to Section 6.  To view the Senate version that has passed, type S. 486 into the search engine.

H.R. 2987 is expected to be taken up by the House this week -- the week beginning May 22, 2000. [SEE UPDATE BELOW!!]

In addition to H.R. 2987, we are told The Federal Bankruptcy Reform Bill, H.R. 833, which has passed both houses and is currently in conference committee, likewise has the secret search language!

If the secret searches language becomes law, it would apply to all searches by the federal government, not just ones involving methamphetamines or bankruptcy.

When conducting searches, federal agents are currently required to announce their presence before entering and to provide an inventory of any items they take.  Because the person -- whose home or business is being searched -- knows about the search, he can exercise his Fourth Amendment right and make certain police have a properly executed search warrant.  You can also ensure the search is in accordance with the terms of the warrant.

But under a secret searches law, federal police could enter a person's home surreptitiously, conduct a search, and then not tell anyone.  The home owner may never find out, or not until months later.  Even then, the police would not have to provide a list of items that were taken in the search.

So, if the police enter your home, copy your diary, or copy your computer's hard disk, they would never have to inform you of their actions.

Should the secret searches item be deleted from the methamphetamine and bankruptcy bills, it is likely that the Clinton Administration will try to sneak them into a gigantic budget bill, during the Republicans annual fall surrender.

So, take note!  In a previous Congress, Clinton was able to obtain the authority for warrantless wiretaps, which has been defeated after public debate, earlier in the year.  He slipped it through by hiding it in the year's omnibus budget bill.

6/3/00 UPDATE: We have recently learned that these bills would also prohibit websites from linking to certain other drug websites.  The senate bill (S. 486 - already passed) would require internet providers and hosting services to remove ANY website within 48 hours after the government objects to it!

Additionally, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Illinois), has already postponed more than one hearing.

Please call, write, and e-mail your representatives and tell them to vote "NO" on H.R. 2987, the Methamphetamine Proliferation Act in its present form.  Additionally, H.R. 833, the Bankruptcy Reform Bill needs to die in Committee.

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