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FBI Seeks Records From Bridgeport Library In Fight Against Terrorism

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September 1-15, 2005 Edition

FBI Seeks Records

From Bridgeport Library

In Fight Against Terrorism

WASHINGTON/08/26/05—According to a New York Times article August 26, the FBI is demanding library records from a Connecticut institution as part of an intelligence investigation. The move is authorized under the expanded antiterrorism law known as the USA Patriot Act.

The American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday that this is the first time the FBI has used the Act in this way. The government’s power to demand library borrowing records and other material showing reading habits has been the single most divisive issue in the debate over whether Congress should extend key elements of the act after this year, the Times article said.

The ACLU said it was barred from disclosing details of the FBI’s demand, but The Times article indicate that the target is a library in the Bridgeport area.

The A.C.L.U. is a harsh critic of the Bush administration over the Patriot Act and its antiterrorism policies, and has brought a lawsuit in Federal District Court in Bridgeport on behalf of the Connecticut institution. The A.C.L.U. said it would seek an emergency order allowing it to discuss details of the case publicly. A hearing was set for August 31 in federal court in Bridgeport. Read the full story in the The New York Times.

In July 2005, the U.S. House voted, 257 to 171, to permanently extend virtually all major antiterrorism provisions of USA Patriot Act. The vote was a blow for Democrats who sought to impose new restrictions on government’s surveillance powers and its ability to require libraries to turn over certain records during anti-terrorism investigations.