May 21, 2005

Mail call!

And if Dubya's administration has its way, the FBI may already have a list of everyone who's mailed you something.

'Mail covers' — the recording of information on the outside of mail addressed to the subject of an investigation — have been used for year, but the authority to order one lies with postal inspectors. Under a proposal being floated in Congress, the FBI would gain exclusive authority over mail covers if it says 'national security' is involved. The FBI would not be able to open mail, however; that would still take a court warrant.

The rationale for the proposed new FBI power is that (according to the FBI) postal inspectors don't act quickly enough to authorize mail covers. Postal Service officials say that no FBI request for a mail cover has been 'formally rejected' in recent years.

Civil libertians are not happy with the proposal:

"Prison wardens may be able to monitor their prisoners' mail," said Lisa Graves, senior counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, "but ordinary Americans shouldn't be treated as prisoners in their own country."

Via NY Times.

Posted by Magpie at May 21, 2005 03:05 PM | Civil Liberties | Technorati links |

Can you say 'creeping fascism,' boys and girls? I knew you could.

Posted by: natasha at May 22, 2005 01:18 AM