March 9 2007

Really…this is surprising?

It seems an audit was done of the FBI’s use of the Patriot Act in investigations and, gee, guess what, it was abused. I am all for fighting terror, but, as I have quoted before…

“They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
– Benjamin Franklin

The Patriot Act was passed in an air of panic, and has always had a sense to me of closing the barn door after the cows got out. It wasn’t thought through, the powers to broad, and some of the things it considered were just insanely trivial. And so no, I am not surprised some of the powers it granted law enforcement have been mishandled. It doesn’t sound like the powers were intentionally abused, but it sure seems like they weren’t handled properly. To give these sort of powers to agents not properly trained in their use was just a horrible lapse in judgment on the part of the government.

In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit to having run afoul of the Patriot Act. My crime? My family/business had too many checking accounts. We had to condense and it was a huge pain, but yes, we are evil people having too many different checking accounts. It’s true. I’m a horrible person.

share tweet share

General Rants Government

  • Oh, hell, they’ve been abusing it for years. Remember the Texas state Democrats who left the state so as to avoid a quorum wherein the Republicans could shove through off-census redistricting? Remember how Tom DeLay used the Homeland Security Department to track them down? And that’s simply the most public abuse. Look at Bush’s current Saturday-night-slaughter of US Attorneys under the Patriot Act provision for replacing USA’s in emergency circumstances, now used for placement of cronies and political operatives, and to demonstrate to all the USA’s that if they investigate Republicans, don’t investogate Democrats, or generally don’t do the bidding of any Republican politician, they will get canned.

    Still, I am shocked that they actually admitted to some offenses… which, most likely, will never be punished. Just yet another case of gross violation of the law by the administrative branch, nothing to get excited about.

  • And, uh, wha? Too many checking accounts? Seriously? That’s not allowed?

  • Oh I’m not that excited about it, like you, I’m just shocked! “They actually admitted to abuse of powers?!?” The FBI always has, still does, and always will abuse their powers. Same with the CIA. If you put that much power in someone’s hands, it will eventually be abused by a percentage of them.

    As for the checking accounts…yep. Bank auditors labeled our number of accounts “suspicious” (2 personals, 1 family joint, 2 business) and ordered our bank to have us cut the number of accounts immediately. Everyone who works in that bank has known us for 20+ years, told the auditors they were nuts, they didn’t care, said it was under the Patriot Act…it was a huge pain in the butt is what it was.

    It all stemmed from when we used to bank at two separate banks. When we left bank B, it was just easier for us to open fresh accounts for those same funds. It was just a matter of things be easier on us knowing where funds were coming from due to web sales went in to one account, convention sales in to another, just helped with our book keeping. Nope, government wouldn’t have it and we had to condense things.

  • Um… doesn’t this suggest that the government–not the IRS, but the DoJ or something–is closely tracking your bank accounts?

    Is that legal?

  • It was a normal bank audit and it was a mixture of:

    A. We had a “suspicious” number of checking accounts


    B. We were “DBA” under too many names

    (I went back and looked up the letter)

    I have 5 different online stores, each with a different domain name, like I can help the fact my customers write out their payments to the domain names when they send in money orders! So, we had to start using our blanket corporate name…which customers still aren’t doing like they’re told to. As for if it’s legal…my bank didn’t raise a stink, so I’m not sure.