Parts of Patriot II become law

During the fanfare around the capture of Saddam Hussein, President Bush signed a bill that gives the FBI the power to search a broad range of financial records without a warrant.
The FBI now can get these records by issuing a “National Security Letter.” “To get the records, the FBI doesn’t have to appear before a judge, nor demonstrate “probable cause” – reason to believe that the targeted client is involved in criminal or terrorist activity.”
The definition of financial institution has been expanded from banks to include stockbrokers, car dealerships, casinos, credit card companies, insurance agencies, jewelers, airlines, the U.S. Post Office, and any other business “whose cash transactions have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory matters.”
This provision of the unpopular Patriot II act was pried off and attached to the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, an omnibus bill funding all the intelligence activities of the federal government.
There’s a good reason the founding fathers didn’t like searches without warrants.
Quotes are taken from this article in the San Antonio Current; story via Ross Mayfield

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