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Is the Use of National Security Letters Unconstitutional?

Is the Use of National Security Letters Unconstitutional?

  • Yes, they violate the First Amendment free speec provisions

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Yes, they violate the Fourth Amendent protections against illegal search and seizure.

    Votes: 1 14.3%
  • Yes, the violate BOTH the First and Fourth Amendments.

    Votes: 4 57.1%
  • No, they are perfectly acceptable extensions of Executive power under the Patriot Act.

    Votes: 2 28.6%

  • Total voters
    7

Captain Adverse

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We have had much debate over the recent revelations of government domestic spying on American citizens. One of the methods being used is the seizure and subsequent search of all records maintained by telephone and internet companies of American citizen’s usage of these services through the issuance of National Security Letters (“NSL”). This is the foundation of the issues regarding surveilance raised by Mr. Snowden.

An NSL is an administrative subpoena authorized by the Patriot Act that requires certain persons, groups, organizations, or companies to provide documents about certain persons. These documents typically involve telephone, email, and financial records. NSLs also carry a gag order, meaning the person or persons responsible for complying cannot mention the existence of the NSL. Under Patriot Act provisions, law enforcement can use NSLs when investigating U.S. citizens, even when law enforcement does not think the individual under investigation has committed a crime. The Department of Homeland security has used NSLs frequently since its inception. By using an NSL, an agency has no responsibility to first obtain a warrant or court order before conducting its search of records.

In re: National Security Letters; https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/620676-in-re-national-security-letter-district-court.html

On March 14, 2013, Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District of California granted EFF's petition, declaring that 18 U.S.C. § 2709 and parts of 18 U.S.C. § 3511 were unconstitutional. Judge Illston held that the statute's gag provision failed to incorporate necessary First Amendment procedural requirements designed to prevent the imposition of illegal prior restraints. Judge Illston also ruled that the statute was unseverable and that the entire statute, also including the underlying power to obtain customer records, was unenforceable. The judge's order was stayed for 90 days to give the government the opportunity to appeal.

Are National Security Letters Constitutional? Do they violate the First Amendment? The Fourth Amendment? Or Both?
 
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Captain Adverse

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41 views and NO ONE has a position? lol
 

Captain Adverse

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Okay, I give up! LOL

Either this issue was raised elsewhere some time past in the forums, or no one knows (or cares)what NSL's are.

FINE! :p
 

radcen

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We have had much debate over the recent revelations of government domestic spying on American citizens. One of the methods being used is the seizure and subsequent search of all records maintained by telephone and internet companies of American citizen’s usage of these services through the issuance of National Security Letters (“NSL”). This is the foundation of the issues regarding surveilance raised by Mr. Snowden.

An NSL is an administrative subpoena authorized by the Patriot Act that requires certain persons, groups, organizations, or companies to provide documents about certain persons. These documents typically involve telephone, email, and financial records. NSLs also carry a gag order, meaning the person or persons responsible for complying cannot mention the existence of the NSL. Under Patriot Act provisions, law enforcement can use NSLs when investigating U.S. citizens, even when law enforcement does not think the individual under investigation has committed a crime. The Department of Homeland security has used NSLs frequently since its inception. By using an NSL, an agency has no responsibility to first obtain a warrant or court order before conducting its search of records.

In re: National Security Letters; https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/620676-in-re-national-security-letter-district-court.html

On March 14, 2013, Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District of California granted EFF's petition, declaring that 18 U.S.C. § 2709 and parts of 18 U.S.C. § 3511 were unconstitutional. Judge Illston held that the statute's gag provision failed to incorporate necessary First Amendment procedural requirements designed to prevent the imposition of illegal prior restraints. Judge Illston also ruled that the statute was unseverable and that the entire statute, also including the underlying power to obtain customer records, was unenforceable. The judge's order was stayed for 90 days to give the government the opportunity to appeal.

Are National Security Letters Constitutional? Do they violate the First Amendment? The Fourth Amendment? Or Both?
Administrative actions seem to be becoming all the rage with government-types these days. Simply put, it boggles my brain cells that anybody can rationalize these as somehow being Constitutionally correct. On their very surface they fly in the face of the protections the Constitution is supposed to provide.

But hey, Twinkies are coming back to stores in a couple weeks, and that's all most people really care about anyway.
 

penn1954

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Okay, I give up! LOL

Either this issue was raised elsewhere some time past in the forums, or no one knows (or cares)what NSL's are.

FINE! :p

IMO They violate both.
That said I'm only a peon not a Constitutional Lawyer!
 

Captain Adverse

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Administrative actions seem to be becoming all the rage with government-types these days. Simply put, it boggles my brain cells that anybody can rationalize these as somehow being Constitutionally correct. On their very surface they fly in the face of the protections the Constitution is supposed to provide.

But hey, Twinkies are coming back to stores in a couple weeks, and that's all most people really care about anyway.

IMO They violate both.
That said I'm only a peon not a Constitutional Lawyer!

Thanks for the support guys. Geez I thought this thread was going to die on the vine. Surprising since Snowden's revelations mostly relate to the use of these NSLs to gain all that information and continued access from telephone and internet service companies.

It's not even a warrant... just a basic demand letter from any officer in any investigative Federal agency. You'd think more people would be pissed.
 

radcen

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Thanks for the support guys. Geez I thought this thread was going to die on the vine. Surprising since Snowden's revelations mostly relate to the use of these NSLs to gain all that information and continued access from telephone and internet service companies.

It's not even a warrant... just a basic demand letter from any officer in any investigative Federal agency. You'd think more people would be pissed.

One would think. Hence my Twinkie sarcasm. Unfortunately, there's a lot of truth to my sarcasm.

"Administrative warrant" just makes it sound more official. Those paying more attention to Twinkies than what their government is doing to them will think, "Well, they got a warrant. Must be legit."
 

ChezC3

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As I consider the entire Patriot Act not only unconstitutional but also a product of treason, usurping authority never intended, anything deriving its authority from said Act would by extension also be considered unconstitutional. So yes they both are unconstitutional
 

Captain Adverse

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As I consider the entire Patriot Act not only unconstitutional but also a product of treason, usurping authority never intended, anything deriving its authority from said Act would by extension also be considered unconstitutional. So yes they both are unconstitutional

My thoughts egg-zackly. :peace
 
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