Judge throws out part of USA Patriot Act

Sept. 6, 2007 at 6:14 PM

NEW YORK, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- A federal judge Thursday barred the FBI from issuing secret national security letters in a ruling that found parts of the USA Patriot Act unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero, sitting in New York, ruled for the second time in the case, The Washington Post reported. The Patriot Act expanded the FBI’s ability to use national security letters to get information on customers from Internet service providers.

"In light of the seriousness of the potential intrusion into the individual's personal affairs and the significant possibility of a chilling effect on speech and association -- particularly of expression that is critical of the government or its policies -- a compelling need exists to ensure that the use of NSLs is subject to the safeguards of public accountability, checks and balances, and separation of powers that our Constitution prescribes," Marrero said.

He called that part of the act “the legislative equivalent of breaking and entering.”

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