Wednesday, November 05, 2003

The FBI used the USA Patriot Act to obtain financial information about key figures in its ongoing political corruption probe centered on strip club magnate Michael Galardi, federal authorities confirmed Monday.

Investigators "used a section of the Patriot Act to get subpoenas for financial documents," said Special Agent Jim Stern, a spokesman for the Las Vegas field office of the FBI. "It was used appropriately by the FBI and was clearly within the legal parameters of the statute."

...The Patriot Act, passed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, was originally trumpeted by the government as a powerful tool that would assist federal law enforcement officials in combating and preventing terrorism.

But the Bush administration has increasingly attracted criticism from civil libertarians for employing the wide-ranging act to crack down on everything from drug traffickers to child pornographers.

The provision used to obtain the information in the Galardi investigation is Section 314, sources said.

That section allows federal investigators to obtain information from any financial institution regarding the accounts of people suspected of being terrorists or laundering money.

Malone's attorney said it is an outrage that the FBI is using anti-terrorism measures in an effort to gather information on his client.

"The Patriot Act was designed and was sold to the American people as being necessary to combat terrorism. It clearly was not intended for this," Las Vegas attorney Dominic Gentile said. "I'm confident that the citizens of the United States are on my side on this one."

What do you call it when your government gleefully perverts its own laws to go attacking everybody in sight? I could say bullshit or hypocrisy but that seems to avoid the real problem, which is the constant and pervasive perversion of power enacted by the Bush administration and its departments.

I find it interesting that Bush calls himself a Conservative, but is going out of his way to spend more of the U.S.'s cash than pretty much any other president has and is pushing for laws that make it even easier to pin crimes on its citizens. Isn't the whole Conservative deal about less government and more personal responsibility?

This is too obvious to beat on, so I'm moving forward, only to say that anybody who's backing Bush because of blind nationalism or, unbelievably, because of some faith in the man himself, needs to think very carefully about their opinion of democracy, and whether or not they're cool with theirs being dismantled all around them.

BTW, just watched PHONE BOOTH. Don't bother. Bullshit ending and Forrest Whittaker was just fucking awful.

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