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“I Was Gagged By The Patriot Act While The Attorney General Was Free To Tell Falsehoods About It”

Janet Nocek is director of the Portland library and a member of the Executive Board of Library Connection, a Greater Hartford library consortium that received a national security letter in June 2005. She says, “I Was Gagged By The Patriot Act While The Attorney General Was Free To Tell Falsehoods About It.”

  • Patriot Abuse, By Janet Nocek, Hartford Connecticut Courant (July 22, 2007).

We were therefore not allowed to testify to Congress about our experience with the letters – which seek information, without court review, on people like library users.

…Unfortunately, we were prohibited from speaking to the public – or even to our U.S. senators and representatives – until after the Patriot Act was reauthorized.

…Reportedly hundreds of thousands of security letters have been sent out. The recipients remain gagged and can never speak about their experience, under threat of a five-year prison sentence. They can never describe the scope and nature of the information they give to the FBI.

…The act was reauthorized without significant change to the nondisclosure provision, which prevents anyone who receives an national security letter from talking about the experience, to anyone, ever.

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