To the surprise of PATRIOT Act defenders who have repeatedly said. “Never never NEVER!” (and the total lack of anything resembling astonishment or even mild eyebrow-raising from anyone else who’s given the subject 5 seconds worth of serious consideration), a recent Justice Dept report admits with no sense whatever of shame or embarassment that it has been brazenly using the PA to investigate ordinary criminals for months:
The Bush administration, which calls the USA Patriot Act perhaps its most essential tool in fighting terrorists, has begun using the law with increasing frequency in many criminal investigations that have little or no connection to terrorism.
The government is using its expanded authority under the far-reaching law to investigate suspected drug traffickers, white-collar criminals, blackmailers, child pornographers, money launderers, spies and even corrupt foreign leaders, federal officials said.
And they said it couldn’t happen here.