Whitecaps

Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

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Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Administrative Subpoenas and National Security Letters

Some agencies of the US government are increasing their use of administrative subpoenas and national security letters. These two authorities are vested in certain federal administrative agencies to compel testimony and or the production of documents or both in the performance of the agencies' duties. (Don't yawn yet.) During the 108th Congress and again during the 109th Congress, President Bush has encouraged legislation that would allow agencies to use these tools of expediency in the fight against terrorism. Congress seems inclined to agree with the President.

On April 15, 2005, The Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, released a 46-page report entitled Administrative Subpoenas and National Security Letters in Criminal and Foreign Intelligence Investigations: Background and Proposed Adjustments. This report is a decent primer for those wishing a clearer understanding of the constitutional basis for both administrative subpoenas and national security letters. Though both have the potential to be useful tools for fighting crime and terrorism, both also have the potential to be abused by the agencies employing them.

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