Internal emails between advisers to President Obama reveal long-standing concern over how the Patriot Act that would negatively affect law-abiding Americans.
Recent emails between Obama advisers Peter Swire and David Medine, unearthed by government watchdog organization Judicial Watch on Monday through a Freedom of Information Act request filed Aug. 28, 2013, revealed that Swire was concerned about a broad interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act in 2004.
Medine asked in a July 25 email to Swire about a 2004 paper Swire wrote predicting that a literal interpretation of the provision would permit entire databases to be subject to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) order.
Section 215 of the Patriot Act, also called the “business records” section, requires that a company ordered by the federal government under Section 215 authorities provide investigators with “any tangible things.”
The order includes “books, records, papers, documents, and other items” for foreign intelligence or terrorism investigations.
Swire, the former special assistant to Obama, helped draft the Patriot Act and is currently a member of the Obama administration’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. Medine is the chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.
Swire explained to Medine that during the drafting of the Patriot Act, he criticized provisions that of the bill that would have granted the CIA access “to essentially any records held elsewhere in the government.”
Swire had also criticized a criminal provision of the bill that could have “put low-level IT managers in jail for ten years if a terrorist used their system or something like that,” he said.
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