ACLU Says Disclosure on "Sneak and Peek" Warrants Raises Many Questions; Release of Information Comes Before Congress Starts Patriot Act Hearings

April 4, 2005 12:00 am

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ACLU Says Disclosure on “Sneak and Peek” Warrants Raises Many Questions; Release of Information Comes Before Congress Starts Patriot Act Hearings

Statement of Gregory T. Nojeim, Associate Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office


WASHINGTON – The Justice Department’s limited release of numbers this evening raises as many questions as it answers. We encourage Congress, as it begins its review of the Patriot Act this week, to ask the Justice Department to fully explain and expand on the partial picture that it painted this evening.

In particular, the Justice Department’s disclosure that the section 213 sneak and peek searches are being used in a wide spectrum of criminal investigations confirms our worst fears that these highly intrusive searches are being used primarily outside of the terrorism arena. Congress must insist on receiving more detailed information on each of these searches and why each was necessary.

We do welcome the acknowledgment by the Justice Department that the use of the “sneak and peek” warrants — which although codified and enhanced by the Patriot Act existed before the law was enacted — can be called a “Patriot Act power.” While this may seem like a rhetorical question, the Justice Department has challenged whether other powers that were enhanced by the Patriot Act can now be attributed to the legislation.

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